The women of the Dallas Police Department saw a need that’s rarely discussed in the workplace, let alone available in a male dominated industry. Not that long ago, officers could not find a lactation room anywhere within the department until a group of Type A police women, moms-to-be, and those willing to help designed them at each of the 7 substations.
“It’s nice having other officers show compassion for not only my needs but also the needs of my child,” said Central Neighborhood Patrol Officer Delia Pesina, who is nursing her 7-month old child. Now Pesina and other mothers can convene privately in one of the lactation rooms and pump their breast milk without ridicule or uneasiness, thus creating a friendly work environment.
The project, which took 3 months to complete, became a friendly competition between the different substations. Once rooms were located and or identified, volunteers and staff cleaned and painted the rooms to give it that nurturing presence. When word spread, donations started pouring in for chairs, tables and lamps. Community volunteer Carol Archer and Kids who Back the Blue, reached out to Weir’s Furniture and was able to get items donated as well.
With policing previously being a male-dominated field, there was no need for a lactation room. However, times have changed, and more women have turned to careers in law enforcement since the passing of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. This wasn’t the case for Alice Stebbins Wells who is credited as the first woman hired in law enforcement in 1910 by the Los Angeles Police Department. Alice opened the door for all women who wanted to have a police career. She was not only a policewoman, but she was also a mother of three.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and now the moms of DPD who choose to nurse their children have a clean and comfortable space to pump. Not only have they created space for current employees, but future moms as well.
**Photos provided by volunteers**