Hard work and achievement, not gender, pave the way for females in police careers

From left: Chandler Police Department Chief Sean Duggan; Sgt. Donna Reno; Sgt. Sara Rozema; Lt. Melissa Deanda; and Rita Dyas, forensic services manager for Chandler PD. – Wrangler News photo by Noah Kutz

- Advertisement -

Some say the hardest job is being a mother. Others argue that our city’s police officers and their spouses face equally difficult undertakings . But what if you’re all three? For some of Chandler’s finest, it’s just another part of life.

“It’s organized chaos,” laughs Sgt. Donna Reno, mother of three children under 7 years old, wife to a Mesa police officer and a respected Chandler policewoman herself.

During a Women In Leadership luncheon hosted by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, attendees heard from four women who choose to serve their city in law enforcement while also maintaining a family at home and much more. The panel included Sgt. Donna Reno, Lt. Melissa Deanda, Sgt. Sara Rozema and Rita Dyas, who is Forensic Services Manager for Chandler PD.

Although their resumes make easy reference to the women’s accomplishments, each confidently admits that their actions are simply part of their job.

“Respect is earned, it’s not just given,” said Deanda, the first female to obtain the rank of lieutenant in the Chandler PD. “We earn respect on a daily basis by our hard work and dedication, alongside not only the other women that I work with, but the men that I work with as well.”

A crystal-clear theme from the panel: These women earned their reputation in law enforcement purely based on their merit, selfless character and above-average performance, not on gender.

Although the world of law enforcement still remains primarily male-dominant, Chandler PD boasts a 14 percent employment of female officers in its ranks, which is 2 percent higher than the national average.

Referring to that figure, Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan expressed his immense gratitude for officers such as the women on the Chandler Chamber-sponsored panel discussion, and is confident in the leadership they bring to the table for the city of Chandler.

Said Duggan: “We create a culture that recognizes and appreciates hard work and accomplishments, no matter who you are or what you look like,” noting that everyone in this line of work experiences the same training no matter their gender, which enables them to handle the fear and stress they encounter on the job.

“We have a job to do,” said Rozema, “and we get scared all the time.”

Despite the fear they face, however, officers revert back to their training in order to help them accomplish their mission in dire circumstances, she said.

But why do they choose to do it?

“Well, I have bills to pay,” chuckled Rita Dyas.

Her real reason: simply because she loves what she does. For 27 years, Dyas has worked in forensics and says she has loved the job every step of the way.

This particular side of law enforcement, which is usually behind-the-scenes, is a primarily female dominated world, according to Dyas, and the lab at Chandler PD is filled entirely by women.

For the other women on the panel, a mutual desire for self accomplishment and community involvement led to their induction onto the force, and each of them love what they do.

According to the panel, for anyone interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, research the requirements and qualifications first. Once you’ve obtained some life experience and are ready for the challenge, then “take the leap of faith!”


  1. Funny how this article says respect is earned. Sgt Donna Reno lost the respect of the community, when she grinded a Christian woman on the floor, for simply going door to door, her legal right, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If Chandler Police does the right thing by firing her, for abusing law abiding, peaceful citizens, then the whole police force of Chandler is a disgrace. Bad apples have to be held accountable, not protected. I love the police and support police, but their’s a line they can cross.

  2. Incorrect. Lower standards allow women to “succeed” in the name of diversity. People who would take a job they are less qualified for have zero integrity.
    Most female officers are exceedingly mentally unstable.

  3. Was considering moving to the area, being a property investor, moving there would contribute to the local economy. However, because of the corruption of Donna Reno who disrespects the Constitution and it’s protections it affords everyone, she is not fit to be a Police Officer.
    Her own opinions should not ever override the constitution, for she police are there to serve and protect the public from both crime and violation of the citizen’s rights to freedom of speech and religion.
    We were planning this big move from another State into AZ and moving to the area, but now we are considering greatly to not bother and instead going to a more Constitutionally Strong State, not a weak state such as Arizona who give all good Officers in Uniform a bad name. It’s an utter disgrace!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest e-Edition

Follow Us


Weekly Email Newsletter


Join Our Family...

Wrangler Newsletter

One email

Once a week

Unsubscribe anytime

Welcome to The Wrangler Community!