SA impresses inaugural women’s conference

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

Special Agent Brittany Swift, Commander, Office of Special Investigations Detachment 204, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., delivered an impactful speech at the inaugural Bellevue Police Department Breaking Down Barriers Women’s Conference here March 14, 2022. 

Her presentation garnered laudatory comments.

“She did a great job,” said Capt. Andy Jashinske, Bellevue, Neb., Police Department Executive Officer of Professional Standards, Public Information and Recruitment. “She offered valuable insight into her line of work and encouragement attendees can use in pursuing their careers down the road.”

The conference, designed to empower and educate young communities on the importance of women in society, drew 115 attendees, who in addition to hearing SA Swift, heard remarks by representatives from civilian law enforcement, mental health, and athletic training career fields. 

The speakers covered their backgrounds, including how their upbringing shaped their lives as women; adversities and successes they experienced; advice they can offer; the importance of women in society and what men can do to support them; and more.

Among her various comments, SA Swift revealed her strong desire to become a pilot at an early age, acquiring her private pilot’s license before getting her driver’s license. She eventually attended the United States Air Force Academy, Class of 2010, with a pilot slot.

“I was earning my degree in behavioral science when one day a mentor told me, ‘I’m sure you’ll be a fine pilot, but I’m not sure you’ll be happy, because you need structure and need to be solving something. Have you thought about becoming an OSI agent?’” SA Swift told the conference. “He wasn’t wrong. I like structure but not repetitiveness.”

So after further reflecting upon her career choice, then Cadet Swift went through the OSI interview process, was selected, and attended the Air Force Special Investigations Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga.

“I think we can all agree that no matter who influenced us along the way, we wouldn’t be here without the brave women who came before us, shattering the glass ceilings that defined the role of a woman,” Swift said during her remarks. “As you can imagine, there were a lot of ceilings to be shattered in order to allow me to stand before you and share my experiences as a member of the military and law enforcement.”

She then shared some thoughtful advice that has served her well on her career trajectory.

“Never let someone tell you no, when they could not have given you a yes,” Swift told the attendees. “There are a few ways to phrase it, but the idea is to not let someone hold you back that wasn’t able to ‘approve’ you moving forward.” 

“Also, my second piece of advice: Always be candid and true to yourself and things will work out the way they are supposed to,” she said.   

In his welcome message to the attendees, Bellevue Police Chief Ken Clary put the conference in a big-picture context:

“Throughout history women have been underrepresented in the realm of law enforcement – remaining at approximately 12-13 percent since the mid-1980s. Even more disparate is the percentage of women in law enforcement leadership positions – at under 6 percent. Women face similar circumstances throughout numerous career fields across the Nation.

“In an attempt to help remedy this parody nationally, the Bellevue Police Department was the first Police Department in the Nation to sign-on to the 30X30 Initiative, focusing on recruiting and retention of women police officers through international and targeted ways – changing long-standing practices and culture. One step in doing so is providing leadership training specifically designed for women – providing examples of women who have forged a pathway to success – and sharing their success stories with others.

“As the Police Chief in Bellevue, I’m honored to host such an amazing group of women on this stage.”

Editor's Note: This article is part of OSI's observance of Women's History Month, 2022.