The Central Coast is home to a pretty incredible duo: California Highway Patrol Officer Julie Jensen and her partner, Edy.
Officer Jensen is the CHP’s only female K-9 officer and now the department is using her remarkable journey to recruit more females to the force, but getting that title was no easy feat.
She started her career 25 years ago working her way up the ranks from patrol officer, to motorcycle cop and now to K-9 unit.
“I mean you couldn’t have a better partner. I’ve had some pretty good partners, but him? I can talk with him, I can sing with him, he doesn’t argue back with me,” Officer Jensen laughed. “No, he’s a really good partner.”
She and Edy have seen a lot in their four years together: more than 100 arrests since 2018 (runners always give up when they see Edy) and no less than 200 drug searches with one of the largest narcotics finds in California.
But through it all, something has been missing.
“We don’t have enough females in this department and I don’t know why that is,” Jensen said.
Up until 1974, females were not allowed to serve as CHP officers.
Since then, the department has had a hard time filling the gender gap. Currently, women make up just six percent of the force.
“It’s a big deal for the CHP. We need female officers. We need to mimic what our community is,” said Officer Jordan Richards, who is a CHP recruiter.
He is hoping Officer Jensen’s story will inspire other women to join the ranks.
“If another female can see an officer like Julie doing this job, they have a better opportunity of putting themselves in her shoes and saying, ‘I can do that too,'” he said.
To become a CHP officer, you must be 21 to 36-years-old, be a U.S. citizen, have a GED or high school diploma and have no felonies.
For more information on CHP careers, click here.