October 25, 2011

Lt. Colleen McMahon Becomes First Female Motorcycle Officer in Department History

Lt. Colleen McMahon, a 22 ½ year veteran of the Santa Cruz Police Department, became the first female motorcycle officer in the department’s 145-year history. Lt. McMahon completed a rigorous certification process through the Alameda County Sheriff’s Motor Academy and received her final uniform outfitting this week. “Historically, law enforcement has maintained unnecessary and arbitrary barriers,” Chief Kevin Vogel said. “We’re proud that Lt. McMahon helped eliminate another glass ceiling and opened the door for all officers to experience the possibilities in this profession.”

For the last six years, Lt. McMahon has been in Patrol and commander of the Traffic Unit, overseeing all of the motor officers and general traffic functions. Over the course of her career, Lt. McMahon has worked in Patrol, Investigations, Downtown, served as the department’s original School Resource Officer, overseen Professional Standards and worked in the original Street Crimes Unit. Lt. McMahon came to the department after serving in the United States Army, working in military intelligence and as a translator. She is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin. “I am grateful for the opportunities and support I’ve received at the Santa Cruz Police Department and excited to serve our community in an expanded capacity,” Lt. McMahon said. “Hopefully this is a small step toward breaking down barriers and encouraging more women to consider law enforcement.”

For the last 7 ½ years, Lt. McMahon has taught at the California Motorcycle Safety Program at Cabrillo College, aiding new riders in motorcycle safety and defensive riding techniques. She received the RiderCoach Recognition Award from the California Highway Patrol for her effective motor instruction techniques.