Lodi Police Department Officer Regan Porteous does not believe her recent accomplishment should be regarded as a milestone for women.
After nearly three years as a sworn officer with the department, Porteous became Lodi’s first female member of the Special Weapons And Tactics Unit this summer.
“It’s a milestone for me, the department and the city, but I hope people understand that this should not be unexpected,” she said. “There should be more women in law enforcement and there should be more women pushing boundaries.”
A 2012 graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Porteous was hired by the Lodi Police Department in 2016.
At the time, she had just earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Monterey Bay in psychology with a minor in human development, and was attending the San Joaquin Delta College Police Academy.
The Lodi native said when she was first sworn in as an officer, she didn’t envision herself becoming part of a unique division of the department.
“I think in everybody’s career, they look for different avenues to go,” she said. “This opportunity was presented to me, so I thought ‘why not drive into that part of the career?’ I didn’t do this to be the first female in the department to do so, I did this because it was something that was attractive to me.”
What attracted her to SWAT was not the idea of using powerful weapons or breaking down doors during a high-tension incident.
Rather acquiring new skills and knowledge for keeping the Lodi community safe, such as clearing rooms and buildings to ensure citizens are no longer in danger, was something she was eager to learn.
Porteous spent two weeks at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Center in late June, where she said she and about 30 other officers — all males — were put through a variety of rigorous tactical scenarios a department might face.
That included rifle marksmanship and sniper training, as well as raiding buildings and marching through the Alameda County hills in full gear during triple-digit summer temperatures.
Porteous joins a list of female law enforcement officers who in recent years have been recruited by their respective SWAT units.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jennifer Grasso made headlines in 2008 when she became that agency’s first and only female SWAT member, a distinction she holds to this day.
Other women to be recruited by SWAT units in recent years include Officer Nisha Henderson in Provo, Utah 2015; Officer Cassandra Feltson in Jackson, Miss. in 2017; and Officer Perla Dominguez in San Antonio last year.
Earlier this week, Deputy Panther Lee joined the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team in Montana.
Since becoming a member of the Lodi SWAT unit, Porteous has been involved in two incidents, including a recent standoff on Layland Drive.
“I feel I’ve done the work needed to be in the unit,” she said. “It’s a great team, a great group of guys and leaders who have taught me a lot. Just feeling united with them is incredible.”
Her SWAT commander, Lt. Fernando Martinez, said Porteous was not recruited because she is a woman, but because of her efforts and dedication to the department and Lodi community.
“This is a great accomplishment for her, personally,” he said. “She was recommended for the team because she’s done a great job during her short time with the department. She’s a team player, she gets along with her co-workers and her supervisors. This is something to be proud of.”