SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The San Diego Police Foundation honored the women who wear the badge on Wednesday.
The annual Women in Blue event recognizes the top female officers in the department
"It's a great positive in my life to be able to represent," said Sandra Albrektsen who didn't always see herself as a police officer.
But, an internship changed her mind.
"Once I came and started working for SDPD, I realized that connecting with people on a very raw human emotion - that was for me," she said.
Albrektsen is the newly appointed Assistant Police Chief for the San Diego Police Department.
Wednesday afternoon, she was among three women honored for being trailblazers during the annual Women in Blue luncheon.
Albrektsen, along with fellow honorees Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Aida Vasquez and Police Dispatch Administrator Roxanne Cahill, serve different roles within SDPD.
It's an example - said Chief Shelley Zimmerman - of just how much the industry can offer to women.
"Look around, there are a lot of us and this is a very fulfilling, very meaningful career and we hope we hope that some of them today - a lot of kids here, especially young women - get inspired," Zimmerman said.
Currently, the department has about 200 openings Chief Zimmerman said - while open recruitment spans across the board - she'd like to see more women apply.
"You know, San Diego has always been very progressive," she said.
Chief Zimmerman is proof of that - as only four percent of police chiefs and 15 percent of sworn officers nationwide are women.
"I just couldn't be more thrilled, you know, when I joined the department in 1982, I could have never imagined that I'd be honored with the privilege to be chief of police," said Zimmerman.