Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Capt. Alana Forrest has received the prestigious "Trail Blazer" award from the California Police Officers' Association for advancing the role of women in law enforcement.
The statewide award, the first issued by the organization, was presented to Forrest on Nov. 15. It recognizes a woman in law enforcement who has demonstrated outstanding achievement during her career, thus enhanced the visibility and stature of women police officers.
San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, the head of the CPOA, presented Forrest the award during the sixth Women Leaders in Law Enforcement Training Symposium held Nov. 14-15.
Forrest, 49, is an original creator and leader of the statewide Women Leaders symposium, which drew nearly 600 women and men in law enforcement for leadership and professional training.
"I'm extremely honored and humbled by receiving the CPOA Trail Blazer award. There are many female law enforcement officers who came before me who are true trailblazers," Forrest said about the recognition.
"These are the women who paved the way for us in the police profession to enjoy the opportunities we have now. There is still work to be done, lessons to be learned and bridges to be built, but with perseverance we can all achieve greatness in this noble profession," she said.
Forrest has served as a police officer for 28 years. She began her career at the age of 21 in the Palo Alto Police Department and rose to the rank of lieutenant. In 2000, she was promoted to captain in the
Forrest has worked a variety of assignments including patrol, detectives, special operations, and personnel and training. She holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and serves on the board of directors at the YWCA-Silicon Valley.
She has also worked on law enforcement initiatives related to domestic violence and victims' rights. She's the recipient of the 2008 YWCA Silicon Valley Tribute to Women Award and the 2010 Len Edwards Champion of Peace Award. She serves on the faculty of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership Institute on Violence Against Women.
praised Forrest for her impact on women in law enforcement, saying: "Capt. Forrest is an inspiring leader, deeply committed to the profession, her career and the careers of others.
"For the greatest part of her career, she has mentored and helped others; her efforts becoming focused through two regional women leader seminars and ultimately as a key shaper of the Women Leaders in Law Enforcement training symposium."
Forrest's nearly three-decades long law enforcement career is quite a feat considering that, according to www.policeemployment.com, in many smaller police departments, women still hold less than 10 percent of law enforcement positions. That number drops even lower to one-two percent as women move up the ranks to lieutenant, captain or chief.
In 2003, Forrest made history by becoming the police department’s first female SWAT commander.