COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that he has tapped a Copley police officer to head a new state agency aimed at recruiting more women and minorities into law enforcement.
Sarah Shendy, a 12-year veteran of the Copley police force and a trainer in the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, will lead the newly formed Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, DeWine announced at a Thursday news conference.
Shendy, a Muslim woman whose family came to the U.S. from Egypt when she was 6 years old, said during Thursday’s news conference that her journey to becoming a police officer “wasn’t the easiest.” But she said that being a police officer is “an absolute passion.”
“Everyday I’m truly thankful to be in uniform,” Shendy said.
DeWine announced the formation of the office in June following clashes between police and protesters in Columbus and Cleveland in response to the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis resident killed by a police officer on May 25.
His unveiling of Shendy as the director comes one day after violent protests broke out in Louisville following a grand jury’s decision not to file murder charges against the officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor.
Shendy said the agency will work with the more than 1,000 local police departments strewn across the state to advertise job openings to attract candidates from broad backgrounds. She also wants to create programs and videos to educate the public on an average police officer’s day.
“Eighty percent of the day is responding to calls and acting as mediators and peacekeepers,” Shendy said.
Shendy said she hopes to create a mentoring program to help support recruits as they make their way through the police academy training. Shendy said that many recruits, particularly women and minorities, express concern over facing backlash from their communities for their decision to join the police force.
“Once you decide to become a police officer, it’s a life altering decision,” she said. “And one we want to support.”
Shendy graduated from Kent State University and attended the university’s police academy. She worked as a corrections officer in Cuyahoga County and in Portage County until she got a job with Copley police in 2008. She began teaching at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy in 2016.
Shendy also threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Progressive Field on Sept. 27, 2019 as part of the Cleveland Indians’ Hometown Heroes night honoring first responders.
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