Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau was part of a “Women in Blue” panel sharing their accomplishments in the fields of criminal justice and public safety.
The event was presented last week by The Eleanor Project in downtown Stockton’s 1912 vintage Philomathean Club. More than 100 women were in the audience.
The panel guests were billed as being the San Joaquin County’s top women in the criminal justice system.
uTori Verber Salazar, a 27-year-veteran of the district attorney’s office who rose through the ranks to lead the department.
uEstarziau who rose from a police cadet to the chief of the Manteca Police Department beginning her career at 16.
uKathryn Nance, a lieutenant with the Stockton Police Department having served as a gang detective and homicide detective
uMiriam Lyell, a Public Defender in San Joaquin County for 26 years.
uStephanie James who serves as Chief Probation Officer in the county, having received the Outstanding Professional in Law Enforcement award, the Judge Don L. Asher, Rotary Law Day Award in Manteca and served as a board member for the Give Every Child a Chance tutoring program and who also worked her way up through the ranks.
uOfficer Regan Porteous, Lodi Police training officer with a degree in Psychology, receiving her degree from the Monterey Bay University.
The subject of being harassed by their male peers was something of a hot topic from all the panel members who said they survived the negative sides of their experiences over the years climbing to the heights of their professions.
Estarziau who has been in her new position in Manteca for only two and a half months said she was just in the right place at the right time when she was elevated to lead the officers in her department.
The moderator asked, “What can a woman bring into law enforcement compared to a man?”
“Common sense,” Estarziau replied. “But we also have good male officers who use common sense.”
A domestic violence suspect – will hit his wife but won’t hit a woman in uniform but the woman will often struggle with a female officer, while the man will often just leave the scene, she said.
“We show empathy. It is not a weakness, “she said. “It makes a difference and I have been told I have made some great decisions.”
District Attorney Salazar chimed in, “As women we have been bullied and we know what it’s like to be abused verbally.”
Later asked about her drive as related to in her law enforcement career, Chief Estarziau said, “My word (of the day) is determination and go where you think you can’t go. It’s all about that little inside voice and positive self-talk that moves you in a positive direction.”
She said the support of family and friends is a most important ingredient where sometimes friends can often become family and work toward the common good.
“I don’t believe people can grow when everything is going along perfectly,” she mused.
Estarziau began her career at 16 as a member of the Manteca Police Explorers while attending ripon High School. She has served in various positions including dispatcher, community service officer, and public information officer, as a member of the hostage negotiating team, as a patrol officer, a field training officer and a member of the Mounted patrol with her horse Stanley.
The panel discussion was not a traditional women’s lecture series but a blend of social networking combined with conversations with the women leaders throughout the county. Increasingly, women are rising through the ranks in agencies that protect the public, create safer streets and prevent social injustices such as human trafficking and domestic violence.
The Eleanor Project is an organization dedicated to the advancement of women and their causes, named after First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.