Raymore police chief at top of her game - KCTV5

Raymore police chief at top of her game

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Jan Zimmerman has been a commander for at least four different divisions within the Kansas City Police Department. She has been in law enforcement for more than 30 years, though her career began as a nurse. Jan Zimmerman has been a commander for at least four different divisions within the Kansas City Police Department. She has been in law enforcement for more than 30 years, though her career began as a nurse.
RAYMORE, MO (KCTV) -

Raymore is one of the fastest growing cities in the state. It can also boast to having the only female police chief in the metro.

Jan Zimmerman has been a commander for at least four different divisions within the Kansas City Police Department. She has been in law enforcement for more than 30 years, though her career began as a nurse.

"Nursing is like police work in the respect that you see people sometimes at their worst, sometimes when the need is the greatest and to be there to help these folks," she said.

Zimmerman was working as a full-time nurse with a part-time job in retail. It was at that part-time job where she met two police officers.

"They were so enthusiastic about their jobs. They were so proud of working for the Kansas City Police Department that both of them said, 'you guys would really enjoy working there and this would be something really good for you,'" she said.

It did sound good - with one exception. Female officers were almost unheard of.

She started as a dispatcher in 1979, quickly learning police work was a man's territory.

"I understand it is true no matter where you go that you have to prove yourself, prove that you can handle yourself and things like that," she said. "But there were just some old school folks who just absolutely were not going to accept you no matter what."

Despite that, Zimmerman earned her peers' respect and that of her superiors. She was promoted to sergeant in 1987, captain in 1994 and major in 2000.

She had come a long way from the beginning, back when there wasn't even a ladies room.

During her tenure, strides were made for future female officers.

"Things are so much better. I mean they truly are so much better for women. When I started, there was no maternity policy, and as soon as you fessed up and told them that you were pregnant, you were off," she said.

Zimmerman beat out 57 other applicants for the job in Raymore. She has a master's degree from Park University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

She is a woman at the top of her game and wants others just starting out to know that they can have it all.

"I've got the kids. I got the grandkids. I've got this wonderful career and this great town. I would tell women to do what you think you need to do," she said. "I would say to anyone watching this that do everything that you want to do because you really can have it all."

Zimmerman joined the Raymore Police Department in April. And, among her many accomplishments, she is also a cancer survivor.

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