Since I write about a security firm specializing in bodyguards, I thought it might be interesting to run a regular series of posts offering insights from real-life professionals. I hope to have a post the first Tuesday of every month from police officers, private investigators and various other professionals trained in helping protect the public.
I first met today’s guest, Kathy Bennett, during an on-line course, “A Cop’s Life.” Kathy was “the cop” and was sharing an insider’s look at what she dealt with on a day-to-day basis. I started trying to summarize her bio, but there’s so much that she’s done that needs to be shared, I copied it here.
When Kathy entered the Police Academy eighteen years ago she fully intended on doing her mandatory “time on the street”, then find a nice inside job. But a funny thing happened. She liked being a street cop. Not only that, she was good at it. Kathy helped to overcome dissension during the Los Angeles riots and helped citizens rebuild their shattered lives after the Northridge earthquake.
Kathy’s worked at the Police Academy teaching female recruits basic firearms. She’s worked in the “war room” analyzing crime and directing resources to combat the crooks. She’s been named Officer of the Quarter twice, and Officer of the Year once.
Currently, Kathy is a Senior Lead Officer. She is responsible for crime and quality of life issues in her Basic Car Area covering approximately seven square miles of the City of Los Angeles. She directs officers to problem areas and advises them of suspects capering in the Basic Car. Kathy is the “face” of the LAPD and point of contact to the citizens who live in her area.
Kathy is married to a Los Angeles Police Officer, Rick and they have one daughter and one granddaughter. Kathy has written two romantic suspense manuscripts and is currently working on her third book.
In short, Kathy is the type of heroine that should star in her own series. Can you imagine the type of depth her stories must have? I look forward to when she gets her first book published.
My only instructions to Kathy as to what type of post I wanted? To write about something that as part of her daily job, she (or her fellow police officers) sees people doing over and over again that makes her want to shake her head and say “I wish people would …” Her article is not a work of fiction, it’s what she’s seen happen, and probably often. It’ll scare the daylights out of you, if especially if you have daughters. Heck, I shivered reading it and I have two sons. While Kathy is talking about teenaged girls, I think it is good advice for any woman who is dating.
I’m honored that Leah asked me to guest blog today about crime prevention and awareness. I’d like to talk about the safety of preteen and teenaged girls.
The law enforcement community is seeing a disturbing trend with female preteens and teens. When young girls are with a group of other kids, many times the girls are encouraged and expected to consume alcohol…often in large quantities. Parents often underestimate the risks of their preteen daughters’ exposure to the influence of alcohol and don’t have a clue about the seriousness of the issue. The young girls are not aware of the fact their bodies generally don’t metabolize alcohol in the same way as males or adults. Weight is the biggest factor in metabolizing alcohol, but females also have less body fluid than males. Therefore, if a girl and a boy of the same size and weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the female will have a higher concentration of alcohol in her blood.
What we (the police) see happening is these young girls try to “keep up” their alcohol consumption with the males in the crowd – and failing. Did you know that research shows that having male friends increases the risk of alcohol use by young girls? In some cases the girls are trying to win the “honor” to claim they were the most “wasted”. The girls find alcohol loosens their inhibitions and makes them feel more confident and sexy. Being the life of the party and sexually provocative sometimes increases a young girl’s popularity with her friends…especially the boys.
Sometimes these girls will drink themselves into unconsciousness where they are left at the mercy of whomever they’re with. Unfortunately, many of today’s young males don’t have a second thought about having sex with a girl who is in no condition to protest. In fact, often these situations turn into a group event, with multiple males “taking a turn.” Turns your stomach, doesn’t it?
So, how can you protect the younger girl in your life from becoming a victim of her own alcohol consumption? Talk to your child! Explain these types of activities can and do occur. My experience indicates you should start talking to your girls at about age eleven. And you should talk to them often.
Be a parent, not a friend. Set the rules. Make it clear that underage drinking is not okay under any circumstances. Have calm discussions with clear messages making plain your expectations about not drinking. Teach your daughter “refusal skills.” To girls who care about their appearance, it may be more beneficial to discuss the toll alcohol takes on the way they look, than to talk about liver disease…something they really can’t relate to.
I’m sure they’ll roll their eyes at you and tell you they don’t drink – and if they did, they wouldn’t be that stupid. Counter their assurances with the fact that you have confidence that THEY wouldn’t find themselves in that position, but they need to be aware those types of incidents do occur, and maybe their friends aren’t as savvy as they are.
There was a study done that found the single most important factor of girls behavior was the behavior of their five closest friends. A number of experts were not surprised that friends can sway girls more easily than boys. It’s important to supervise your daughter and know who her friends are, where they are going, and what they are doing. Many times when kids get into trouble and we go to the parents for information about their child’s friends, the best the parents can do is give us a first name – and that’s all. If we’re really lucky, they might have a cell phone number of the friend. Make it your business to know your child’s friends, where they live and who their parents are. It’s not a bad idea to meet their parents and exchange phone numbers. Encourage your girls to maintain friendships with other girls who make good choices and decisions.
Finally, be sure you’re being a good example to your children – male or female. Do they see you turn to alcohol when you are stressed, or looking for a good time? Have your children seen you intoxicated – or worse yet, drinking and then getting behind the wheel of your car? If you’re guilty of not being the best role model, change your behavior because your kids are watching and will follow your example.
If you feel your daughter or granddaughter is heading down a path of self-destruction, contact your local law enforcement agency and ask to talk to the Juvenile Section. Most police departments will be able to refer you to agencies or programs that can help.
One other thing I would add to Kathy’s post, teach your daughters to NEVER leave their drink unattended – and I’m not talking just alcohol. Rohypnol and the other date rape drugs are too easily administered — it’s odorless, colorless and for the most part tasteless, and can be added to any drink, even water. If they do have to leave it unattended? Discard it, don’t drink it no matter what their friends urge them to do.