Woman contends local law enforcement hiring discriminates against females; agencies disagree

HURRICANE – Last spring, upon the recommendation of people she knew, Katina Young applied for a police officer position with the Hurricane City Police Department. Her friends said the city needed a female officer. She considered herself very qualified because she has what she calls the “triple threat.” She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, is a Police Academy graduate and is a certified Emergency Medical Technician. She received several awards during her training and was criminal justice club president in college.

Instead of landing an interview like she thought she would, she received a rejection letter nearly three months after she applied. Two other women, one of whom served with the Cedar City Police for a while, applied recently and received the same response, Young said, and that she felt slighted because male applicants she went to the academy with heard back right away after they applied.

2013-08-22 15.37.59“To me that is blatant discrimination,” she said. “I was quite shocked.

Hurricane City Police Department Public Information Officer Sergeant Brandon Buell’s first question when addressing Young’s situation was: “Is she even eligible?”

He said potential police officers must go through the academy and pass written and physical fitness exams, among other requirements. The background packet is very detailed, Buell said, and if any applicants are missing information, they are ruled ineligible.

During the last application process, two females applied and one did not pass the background requirements and the other dropped out of the testing, Buell said. Some male applicants did not pass the background check as well, he said.

“Our chief is not one who is biased,” Buell said of current Hurricane City Police Chief Lynn Excell.

It doesn’t matter if the applicants are male or female because Hurricane is an equal opportunity city, he said. There are some great female officers working in Washington County, Buell said, and the Hurricane Police Department would welcome a female officer. But, he said, the Police Department would not hire a female just to have one on the force.

“We will hire the best candidate for the job,” Buell said.

Eight of the Police Department’s 29 employees are female, Buell said, including three female animal control officers. Two of its three crossing guards are female.

“It is not an accurate statement that we won’t hire a female,” he said. “As an officer, you need to be able to control the situation, make arrests, and defend yourself. Are those things both genders can do? Absolutely.”

In general, there are not as many females who want to be officers, Buell said. Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher and Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith concurred.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department has 15-18 certified female law enforcement officers. Even one of Pulsipher’s chief deputies is female. Washington City has no female police officers but one female animal control officer.

“Women have a huge role in law enforcement,” Pulsipher said. “They bring a different perspective.”

Both Pulsipher and Keith said they welcome female officers.

Young said female officers are recommended in rape and domestic violence cases and, she said, children respond better to women. Also, women are extremely desirable when having to search another woman, she said.

Buell, Pulsipher and Keith agreed with Young, to a point.

Keith said that Washington City gets very few female applicants but he would love to have female officers to help with female victims and suspects, not because he thinks they would do a better job, he would just like that option available.

Pulsipher said the county has a large number of female inmates and female officers aid tremendously in servicing this population, especially when it comes to searches.

“We try not to do cross-gender searches,” the sheriff said.

Pulsipher said women, for the most part, have an easier time communicating with children and female rape victims. For instance, having to answer to a “big, bald guy” like him can be intimidating for women and children in those circumstances. Sometimes it can get awkward when rape victims have to talk about such sensitive subjects with male officers, he said. Their goal is to make victims feel as comfortable as possible and having a female officer available certainly helps.

Like Buell, Keith said his department would not give preference to female candidates, noting they would have to meet the exact same standards as the men.

Pulsipher said he would encourage any female interested in becoming a female officer to look into the Dixie State University program, headed by Ivins/Santa Clara Police Chief Bob Flowers.

As for Young, after her rejection from the Hurricane City Police Department, she landed a job at a private probation company as a probation agent, something which she said she enjoys, and is putting her degree to use.

Nonetheless, Young said something needs to change within the Hurricane City Police Department and is hoping a new mayor will change things.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Melissa Norris September 25, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Hurricane City Police Chief, Lynn Excell, is not a person who discriminates against anyone.

  • Dsu police academy student September 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I was on the academy with Katina and I would never want to work with her and I know all of the others in the academy wouldn’t either. She was never good at defensive tactics so if she got into An altercation she would get her and her fellow officers injured. It took her all night to qualify on weapons when it took 90 percent of the academy one try, and she failed her pt test numerous times. Attempting to attempting to blame it on a wrist injury that she whined about all academy. Hurricane city you are better off without her. She isn’t a triple threat she is just a major threat…. To the safety of the public and the other officers. Don’t listen to this women’s pleas for discrimination. She is not up to the challenge and I would quit the force if she was hired on anywhere I got hired on at!!

    • MShabazz September 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      So much for that “Thin Blue Line” huh mr. future officer.

  • My Evil Twin September 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    DISCRIMINATION!!!!!! Yep, that must be it……………………
    Any time any one, other than a white, male adult, does not get what they want, discrimination MUST be to blame. Get over it lady. Hurricane PD has had at least one female officer in the past, and Lynn Excell was the chief back then, just like he is now.
    Geeze, I get sick and tired of whiners.

    • MShabazz September 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Kinda like what you’re doing right now.

  • whatever September 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    The real discrimination comes in when they figure out that you’re not LDS but that’s a whole different news article (I don’t mean Hurricane specifically – I mean St. George area in general).

  • sure September 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Dsu student before you run you mouth check scores she might not have been the best at the physical stuff but i hear she had some of the highest test scores in the class. and what a class some kicked out for cheating and one caught in a porn ring yep i would pick a women with high test scores over males that had to cheat and i know you as well and i would not let you was my car you are that bad

    • Truth September 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Hahaha WOW!! It would probably help to pass POST before ya go throwing descrimination out there! Am I right “triple threat”?… And Katina we all know your “Sure” nice response.. Cause you never cheated in PT huh… Haha what a crock of crap!!!

      • sure September 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

        my Name is not Katina. i am a male and a crock of crap come on i spoke to the mayor he said a female cop from before had left a bad taste with them. so what ever

        • Truth September 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm

          Well then your her big bald husband… O and the story is still a crock of crap

        • thuth be told September 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

          That female cop in Hurricane before was Katina’s Aunt wasn’t it? Kandy -back-up- Adams. Every time she got a call she would ask for back up, even on a traffic stop. They all think they’re all that!

  • HLocal September 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    The applicant in question has lived in Hurricane for many years. It would have been beneficial to readers if the broader perspective could have been represented in this article…A local-resident reporter would have probably declined to write it, altogether. She might do better if she applied a few miles from home.

  • James Thorne September 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    She has pretty much ruined any chance she had to get hire around here. I think that the part ti

  • Just me September 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I took a tour in the police department and asked why they didn’t have a woman’s bathroom or a gym for women, because there was both for the men. Their answer was because they didn’t have a female officer. It sounds like the facility is not made to accommodate women.

    • Just another September 30, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      Thats funny. I took the same tour and they have 3 women bathrooms including a women’s locker room.

  • Marie September 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Ok this article has me upset. I know this person and I know that her husband was told by the Mayor that Hurricane won’t hire a female cop because the last one they had left a bad taste in their mouth. The awards that she received was while working on her degree. Those awards included a Student of the Semester in Criminal Justice. When she applied for Hurricane, she never even received a background packet. She heard nothing for 3 months and then a rejection letter. She never said that Chief Excell was biased, she said the town was. And I agree. In Hurricane if you are female, you can work as animal control or a crossing guard or a secretary, but not as an officer. Also Katina told me that she told the reporter that Washington County Sheriff’s had female officers and that they welcomed them there. She never said anything bad about the county. As for the DSU Students comment, you are obviously one of those dip wads that she told me about. One that had a hard time with academics and didn’t like the fact that there was a female in the class. At least Katina has a good heart, a good head, and gives her best to all she does.

  • DSU Alum September 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Wow, I guess future potential employers can google her name and see what they have in store. Maybe Hurricane dodged a bullet by passing her over, but then again a Mickey Mouse reporter will take any story.

  • Matthew Sevald September 25, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Why isn’t this an “opinion” piece? No crime was committed. No agency actually discriminated against anyone. Why air this one woman’s complaint when there’s actually news going on? The last line of the article shows the true intent:
    “Nonetheless, Young said something needs to change within the Hurricane City Police Department and is hoping a new mayor will change things.”
    This is entirely a political piece using misleading headlines and this woman and her not-really newsworthy “story” as an excuse to foment change. Shame on St. George News in this case for allowing itself to be used (or intentionally doing so?) in such a way.
    I’ve noticed many articles on this news site that advocate kicking out the good old boys in favor of new change – and I actually do support that. However, such articles should be upfront about their intentions, and to do otherwise is deceitful. Not everyone can read the stitches on a fastball as I can, and the public is owed honesty from a source they are asked to trust.

    • My Evil Twin September 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Well, we are certainly in awe of your ability to read stitches. Sheesh, what an ego. . .

  • MShabazz September 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    A bunch of white guys with a power complex, that’s what the local PD’s want and that’s all they hire.

  • Katina September 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    This is me! I don’t need to use a fake identity to comment! I don’t need to be blasted for speaking my mind! This story came about because I had commented on a previous article on the mayoral candidates and asked those what kind of change they would bring to Hurricane. I never said that any particular person was biased (as was implied in a couple of comments) or that I was the best thing out there. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. I also know that I never cheated, as I believe that cheating is wrong. I did have an injury to my wrist (I never sat out and I always gave it my best) that made certain physical aspects difficult, but I never cheated. My husband was told to his face that Hurricane would never hire another female officer because the last one left a bad taste in their mouth! So tell me, what does that sound like to you, because that is outright discrimination to me. And as for a job with another department in this county, I don’t want or need one! I have a Bachelors degree that I spent 4 years and a lot of time away from my family to get. I am putting that degree to use and doing something that I love. I have the love and support of my family and that is what matters the most. I don’t need approval of anyone else. Hey everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But before you cast stones and talk crap on someone else, you better stop and think about your own skeletons. If you want to know something about me, just ask, I don’t have nothing to hide.

    • My Evil Twin September 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Well, shoot, you have a Bachelor’s Degree! Good for you! I guess what I am wondering, is why in the world you would want to “waste or great education,” working for little old Hurricane? Particularly when you aren’t interested in or needing a job with another department.
      I think we pretty well see your whining for what it is.

      • My Evil Twin September 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        “waste or great education,” should have read: “waste YOUR great education,”(my bad)

    • Melissa Norris September 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      They were maligned and Lynn Excel was mentioned. Brandon Buel replied, as well as, Cory Pulsipher. How is it to be taken differently?!?! These men HAVE NOT DISCRIMINATED against anyone, regardless, what your husband was told. The article implied/accused them of bias, based on what I’ve read and reread. This could have been handled in a more productive way. Ya dun opened a can of worms now.. Good luck putting the lid back on.

  • Jon R. Cocktoasten September 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Ok, I’ve read all the comments… Some were funny, some outright mean, some logical, opinionated, etc… All I have to really say is read the last line of Katina’s statement… ” If you want to know something about me, just ask, I don’t have nothing to hide.” All the education money can buy, four years in college and all that time away from your family… I learned in high school English class that using a double negative is improper… It should read …I don’t have anything to hide or, I have nothing to hide. Either way she has nothing to hide… Just sayin’…

    • Craig September 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Well thank gawd the grammar cop is on duty.

  • Dsu police academy student September 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    No katina you failed the pt test, you failed the weapons qual numerous times, and you failed the final dt test on your first time. You were only good on paper.


  • Some Guy September 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    It sounds to me like somebody was scorned by the testing process. I graduated from the academy and tested with over 10 departments before being asked to provide a background packet. Does that mean I was discriminated against? No, that means I was rejected at least 9 times before anybody even gave me a chance. Not only does a department grade you based on your test scores, they grade you based on your personality and how well you can work with the current staff. Maybe if Katina had the fortitude to keep trying and fight through the adversity, she would have a job (like the 4 girls from my academy class, who got jobs well before the majority of the males)… The funny thing is now she is known as somebody who goes to the news with stories; no department wants that liability around. Good luck finding a job now….

    As for Hurricane PD, if they found a female officer who is qualified and they felt she matched well with their department, I have no doubt in my mind they would hire her in a heartbeat. There is more to landing a police job than PT, DT and exam scores; personality, attitude and mentality count just as much.

    I’m sure there is more to this story. Even Katina will never know the specifics as to why she was not hired or even sent a packet. Every department is different and each have their own criteria.

  • Chuck Norris September 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    First off i don’t even know where to begin with this.

    Ill start here “This is me! I don’t need to use a fake identity to comment” Of course you don’t your name and picture is in the article we all know it you! “I did have an injury to my wrist (I never sat out and I always gave it my best) that made certain physical aspects difficult, but I never cheated” Enough with the wrist already! Everyone has injuries people had them in the academy put they pushed through and still was achieved more than the bare minimum! the never sat out part? what do you call trying to talk to the instructors as long as you could so you didn’t have to do the exercise? “But before you cast stones and talk crap on someone else, you better stop and think about your own skeletons” The advice i have for you is don’t put your business in the paper when you know its a load of crap and people will call you out on it. Stop blaming everyone else for why you don’t get hired and take a long hard look at yourself before you go off of “My husband was told to his face that Hurricane would never hire another female officer because the last one left a bad taste in their mouth!”

    “Dsu student before you run you mouth check scores she might not have been the best at the physical stuff but i hear she had some of the highest test scores in the class. and what a class some kicked out for cheating and one caught in a porn ring yep i would pick a women with high test scores over males that had to cheat” ARE YOU SERIOUS?! There where others that scored as high as she did! The fact that she is a women has nothing to do with the fact of the matter. What you are saying that when the crap hits the fan you want someone who memorized a few test questions but who past her firearms because the instructors let her take the test more than anyone else. Someone who was not even border line on pt she flat failed. Also failed DT. Had more excuses than a presidential candidate on why she couldn’t do pt. So i hope for your sake if you ever do get in a fire fight and she is your back up they are firing multiple choice questions at you otherwise your screwed.

  • Dsu police academy student September 26, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    … chuck Norris!!! Preach it !!
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Dsu police academy student September 28, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I have other things I’d like to add to this..

    During the academy one of the cadets was told by a business that katina had told them she couldn’t pay a payment due to medical bills that occurred during firearms training. This injury occurred a week before any of us even touched a weapon. That’s dishonesty which is one trait a law enforcement officer should never have.

    On her pt tests we caught her numerous times trying to cheat on the run and had to call her out on it for her to be honest.

    So yes one of out cadets were kicked out for cheating which was wrong because katina was caught cheating and there was nothing done to her.

    All that hurricane police needed to do was call chief flowers and ask about the peer reviews to see if she would be an officer that they would want to work with and I know for
    Sure over 90% of the class put her name down as one percent none of us would work with. And it’s not because she was a female because the other female in our class was awesome and everyone loved her. Sorry katina your
    Not a triple threat. Not even a little bit. Your degree won’t help you if
    You don’t have the skills that it takes to pass a simple police academy!

  • Rick Bowler September 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I knew I read an article about this girl before. Now she is in the booking so is she still complaining about not getting hired?

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