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Local CHP notes rise in female applicants

Veteran officers says her career in law enforcement has variety
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Local California Highway Patrol offices are proud of a new record. Stan Perez, chief of the CHP Valley division, which includes the Auburn area, recently released news that more than 200 females applied for the division’s April test. The large number was the result of an effort on behalf of the division’s 19 field offices to encourage more females to apply. Female applicants made up 27 percent of the 952 applicants for the April test, Perez reported. He added that he hopes another 200 females will apply for the May CHP cadet exam. “I’m so proud of my people,” Perez said in a news release. “No question that the word is out – joining the CHP family is not just a great job, but also a noble profession and wonderful way to give back to our communities; not to mention having lots of fun and excitement in the process.” Locally, Auburn-area officer Kelly Baraga said she’s enjoyed her 20-year career with the highway patrol and is glad to see more women are taking interest in the profession. “I do believe a lot of women probably cut themselves short,” Baraga said. “They don’t believe they can actually do this job when in fact this is a job they really should go ahead and try. I think they would be surprised that women actually have a really good success rate in law enforcement.” Baraga said the upper body portion of the physical test was the main challenge for her. She said she had to focus more on building her strength in that area to meet requirements. Madison Mang, a 22-year-old Sacramento State senior, is taking the CHP written test Saturday. Mang said she has been preparing for both the written and physical exams since February. Mang said she’s always been interested in law enforcement. She said initially she thought she wanted to work for the FBI but changed her mind when she realized it would be more of a “desk” job. “I needed something with a little more and a little more excitement,” Mang said. Once on the job, Baraga said she feels she’s been given the same respect as her male cohorts. “Once you have the uniform on, it doesn’t matter what gender you are,” Baraga said. “You are respected by a majority of the citizens.” Baraga said she was drawn to the highway patrol because as a single mom she was looking for a job that would allow her to come at home night. Her previous five-year commitment to an area fire department was a fun but demanding 24-hour job. She said the highway patrol seemed like a good fit because it still allowed her to work in a profession where she felt she could give back to the community. Additionally, she said her job is different every day and has had the change to be a road enforcement officer, helicopter paramedic, teach at the academy in Sacramento, be a media officer, and do outreach work at area schools. “For me it’s been such a varied career that allows me to constantly grow with the position,” Baraga said. “There is nothing tedious about working in law enforcement. It’s always a new day.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment. ---------- What it takes to be a CHP officer To get into the CHP academy in Sacramento, an applicant must complete the following steps in the order listed below. These steps take about six months to complete, according to CHP spokesman David Martinez. - Must be 20 ½ years old to apply and have a high school diploma or GED - Pass a written exam that takes about a half-day to complete - Pass a day-long physical test - Score well on an oral interview - Pass an extensive background check - Then pass a psychological interview and medical test After an applicant passes these steps, they are accepted into the live-in academy in Sacramento. It is a 27-week program until cadets graduate and are put in CHP offices throughout the state. ---------- Did you know? Starting salary for a CHP officer is $68,000. The job includes full medical and dental benefits as well as a 401K retirement plan. ----------