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Rhode Island State Police hold career forum for women

Rhode Island State Trooper Karlene McTaggart said the male-dominated field has never stopped her ambitions. (WJAR) 

Rhode Island State Police are recruiting new troopers -- and they hope more women will join the force.

They held a career forum at Rhode Island College in Providence Tuesday, with the event focusing on the recruitment, retention and advancement of female state troopers.

State Trooper Karlene McTaggart said the male-dominated field has never stopped her ambitions.

"I always wanted to be a part of law enforcement as a little girl," she said.

So, being outnumbered by men in uniform didn't really stop McTaggart from her dreams of working for the department -- even if it surprises the public who didn't expect to see a woman to protect and serve.

"There have been times when I've walked up to the car and then they've said, 'Sir,' and they see me and they've been, like,'Sorry!'" McTaggart said.

Still, scenarios like that don't stop her.

McTaggart has been working an intense job for the last six years, while having the second shift as a loving mother.

"I have two little boys -- and learning how to juggle that and find a balance,” she said.

She said her perspective helps calm escalating situations.

"Me being present kind of tones down situations," McTaggart said.

Despite women being half of the population, the numbers aren't reflected for those behind the badge.

"I think women have a lot to offer and they have a lot to bring to the table," she said.

Even if there are any hesitations for applying, McTaggart said it's worth a shot.

"There have been times when I've had interactions with the public, making an arrest and having a conversation with that person, I felt like I made a difference in their life," said McTaggart.

Applications for state troopers are being accepted through Dec. 27. The next state police training academy is scheduled for June.

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