Women play a significant role in law enforcement, and for the past six years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has helped female law enforcement officers in southern California promote training and camaraderie at the annual San Diego Women in Law Enforcement Firearms Training Conference and Pistol Invitational.
This annual event stemmed from an idea by an agency employee.
"We were originally looking for an EEO (equal employment opportunity) program during Women's History Month, back when I was an inspector for the agency," said Nancy Emmi, an intelligence research specialist with HSI. "I suggested we do something similar to an event I had previously attended. That's how the event was reincarnated."
This all-day event promotes gun safety and tactical firearms training and strengthens cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. This year, more than 220 attendees, representing more than 22 law enforcement agencies with a presence in the San Diego-area, came together to hone their skills. Janice Ayala, HSI's assistant director for domestic operations was this year's featured keynote speaker. HSI special agent Molly Reeve took top honors in the individual shooting events.
"This event is special because it's unique, and as far as we know, does not exist elsewhere," said HSI Special Agent and Event Planner Lindsey Martin. "Everyone looks forward to it every year!"
The conference began during the era of ICE's legacy agency, the U.S. Customs Service, and was the brainchild of a retired, female U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisor. Over the years, it has become a well-recognized training opportunity for law enforcement located near the Southwest border.