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Jolie Gentry became her department’s first female Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team operator after three years of working patrol. On her SWAT team, she holds the responsibilities of Fitness Specialist, WMD HAZMAT Specialist, and Rappel Master.
She is the winner of the inaugural Crossfit Games in 2007. At the 2009 Crossfit Games she won the Viking Tactic top performing Law Enforcement or Military athlete of the games. She is currently focusing her athletic training on Olympic Weightlifting and is hoping to help her Women’s team at Catalyst Athletics win a national title.
1) What are some of the biggest improvements you have witnessed with regard to tactical gear targeted towards women?
The biggest improvement in women’s tactical gear is that it now exists!! For years I have relied on wearing men’s small sizes that do not fit quite right, as far as uniforms go. A waistline just below my ribs is not a good look! It has only been in the most recent tactical uniform purchase I made for my SWAT team that there was an option for me to select a women’s size and fit as an option. That was through 5.11 Tactical, of course. As far as plain clothes options, that will always be a challenge for women to conceal carry.
I worked plainclothes for 3 years and was thankful for my little Moab satchel for everyday around-town use. When I had to do undercover work though, that was when the real creative challenges came in. There are not many women’s purses with built-in holsters that are fashionable and do not scream “I am a cop!” I am excited to see that 5.11 is venturing into concealed women’s purses. I just received one to try out. The timing is nice because I just got a new off duty gun to go in it.
2) Do you find more women are interested in police work in recent years? What piece of advice do you share with women who are interested in police work?
There seems to be more women interested law enforcement these days. It is definitely more and more socially acceptable and common to see women leaders in law enforcement as well. I am lucky to live in the East San Francisco Bay Area where two of our local Chiefs of Police are women. My one piece of advice that I strongly advocate for women (and just about everyone for that matter) is to do something to develop your physical strength and conditioning. A strong woman exudes confidence. That goes a long way in the realm of command presence, which is relied upon significantly during citizen and suspect contacts. It is also going to help with injury prevention and career longevity.
3) In 2007 you were the winner of the inaugural Crossfit game, do you still train for competition?
I competed in CrossFit for 3 years and then had my daughter. I then switched gears and specifically trained Olympic weightlifting (Snatch and Clean and Jerk) for about three years. All along I have been a member of my SWAT team and we compete annually in various competitions including Urban Shield (which 5.11 Tactical sponsors). The competition is 48 hours of tactical scenarios and fitness challenges. You are lucky if catch a little sleep throughout the entire 48 hours. I am currently training and preparing for this year’s event which will be coming up in September. This will be the first year that I will be in charge of the team as SWAT team leader so I do not anticipate sleeping a wink!
4) What was your first piece of 5.11 gear and what did you like about it?
I recall getting a swag bag of 511 stuff at the first Urban Shield comp in 2007 – it was a bunch of dude stuff of course! (a belt that didn’t fit, a polo shirt… hahaha.) I did recall getting a knife which is always nice. Actually, it may have been way back then when I received my first pair of 5.11 socks. I love my 5.11 socks. I am never in uniform without them. I have a drawer full.
About 5.11 Tactical Women’s Products
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), more than half of women in the U.S. said they intend to purchase at least one firearm in the next 12 months. In the U.K. women make up more than 25 percent of today’s police force. With steady growth of women’s participation in shooting sports, gun ownership and law enforcement, we continue our efforts to extend our women’s line of tactical apparel and gear—designed by women, for women—to support this growing community. See the full line of 5.11 Tactical Women’s products and check out our Facebook page for the latest updates on Jolie and all of our women ambassadors.
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