In field dominated by men, about two and half years ago Officer Tina Leman became one of Sanford's female motor officers – a title she is proud to hold.
To recognize this achievement she will be honored in an exhibit at the American Police Motorcycle Museum in New Hampshire next year featuring female motor officers from around the nation.
Museum owner and operator Doug Frederick said, “We’re going to herald the job and its skills. It’s always considered a men’s-only job and escorts are one of the most dangerous aspects of police work.”
Leman will be one of four women featured in the exhibit with the others coming from New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. The exhibit will detail the history of female motor officers and each woman featured will have a mannequin displaying her uniform as well as a video and photographs with information about their police department and city.
Her inclusion in the exhibit stemmed from an article she wrote for Police Magazine last month.
She wrote, “I never imagined after 10 years combined of road patrol, auto theft investigations and community policing that I would become a motor officer. I had always disliked issuing citations and investigating crashes, but after riding around on two wheels for these last few years, there is no other specialized unit I would rather be a part of.”
Frederick, who read the article, subsequently contacted Leman and asked if she would like to be included in the exhibit.
“I’m not sure I can put it into words. It’s an honor and it’s overwhelming,” Leman said. “It’s an honor to be able to promote a positive image for the community.”
The honor, however, did not come easily.
After 10 years of working for the police department Leman endured 80 hours of training on the bike to become certified to be a motor officer. The training, she said, could be extremely challenging and sometimes left officers in the class injured before completion.
“It’s fun and miserable,” she said while laughing. “That’s how I would describe training. It was strenuous.”
But the reward was worth the work and Leman said she wouldn’t trade being a motor officer for anything.
“I think it’s something that there’s very few women that are in,” she said. “It’s a field that is dominated by men. I’m trying to break those barriers.”
According to Frederick the American Police Motorcycle Museum has visitors from around the world. This week alone, he said, the museum saw visitors from Israel, Germany, France, England, Brazil and Australia.
The female motor officer exhibit is expected to debut in May and should help promote a positive aspect of Sanford’s police department to the nation and the world. Leman, Frederick said, is the prefect vehicle for that presentation.
“My impression is she’s very proud of what she does and very proud of her city,” he said.
In addition to the exhibit Leman said she is also working with Women Riders Now, an online magazine for female motorcycle riders, to begin writing a monthly column.
“Whatever I can do to build confidence in women to ride,” said Leman. “I want to show women we can ride with the big boys.”
Correction: In an earlier version of this article Ofc. Tina Leman was incorrectly identified as the first female motor officer for the Sanford Police Department. Michelle Tucker was Sanford Police Department's first female motor officer.