Five Women Redefine the Power Suit
By Kristina Grish
Photo Credit: Jeff Harris
CHERYL KIMBALL, 30, SWAT officer
THE JOB: "I'm the only female on a SWAT team with 26 men and I was the first woman in the history of our department to make it. I have a supportive, brother/sister relationship with the guys. If they pick on me, it makes us closer. The tighter I am with them, the better we gel during tasks. I've always known I wanted to chase bad guys and put them in jail. SWAT is the most challenging unit in the police department. Law enforcement lets me push myself, mentally and physically."
THE REAL ME: "I'm 5'4" and 130 pounds, so it feels good to hear that I intimidate criminals! I have to remind myself that my outfit doesn't make me invisible and officers do get killed. My main goal is to make sure my partners and I go home every night. I've never felt afraid when putting on my uniform, wondering what might occur. I feel like a machine in my armor. People don't see me as a person or woman when I wear it; they only see the uniform. My vest has shoulder pads made from bulletproof material and looks like a turtle shell."
Kimball wears a ballistic helmet with an earpiece that connects to a radio. A handgun attached to her leg is a secondary weapon. Her G-36 machine gun holds 60 rounds of bullets, each half the size of a pen.