New York's Finest celebrates women on the force for International Women's Day

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As the country celebrates Women's History Month, New York's Finest is celebrating their women on their force.

There are 20,000 women -- civilian and uniform -- on the NYPD. On Friday, hundreds of them gathered to celebrate what they've accomplished and to look ahead to the future.

"To be around a whole bunch of strong, powerful women that I aspire to be one day because I'm so young on the job, because they're my source of inspiration," NYPD Officer Kathy Johnson said.

Johnson, who's been on the job for four years now, was one of the nearly 800 NYPD women who gathered at the Police Academy for the department's annual women's conference.

For 35 years, this conference has marked the contributions of female NYPD members in the past, like the first female detective in the early 1900s.

Friday a celebration of 20,000 women in the department -- 6,500 of them who wear the uniform -- and why they are essential to the force.

"I think generally female officers bring a sense of empathy that perhaps we don't see more broadly in all of our uniform ranks," NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Equity and Inclusion Tanya Meisenholder said. "I think having that additional support and understanding how valuable they are goes a long way."

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea was also present at Friday's events.

"They add so much, they really truly do, different perspectives on things, and I've yet to see something that a woman can't do," Shea said.

Friday's conference wasn't just about celebrating the accomplishments of women in the NYPD, but taking a look at the future and focusing on the job that still has to be done.

"We have work to do, I think we are at 18-20 percent right now and certainly not in line with the population," Shea said.

Through workshops, speakers and networking, they hope this group is inspired to help recruit more women to be part of the NYPD and guide these ladies along a path to being the future leaders of America's largest police department.

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