By JENNI FAULKNER
NOT so long ago the long arm of the law was thick and hairy, but these days an increasing number of criminals are feeling a much more delicate arresting hand.
Women are now a major force in policing, and they're proving that brute strength isn't the alldefining characteristic of a police officer.
Today marks 90 years of women in policing across NSW, and in the Coffs/Clarence Area Command 28 policewomen and five detectives will celebrate their careers in law enforcement.
Senior Constable Sue Kady has been with NSW Police for 15 years, and even though she had a six-year break from the force to have children she returned to her passion.
Having been the Youth Liaison Officer for the past five years Sue is knowledgeable on issues surrounding our youth and she is also actively involved with the Young Offenders Act, anger management and also family issues, like how to drug-proof kids.
"The best thing about Coffs Harbour is the climate and working with the community.
"There is no place that doesn't suffer from some youth problems, plus there is a lot of multiculturalism here, and working in these areas can be rewarding."
Senior Constable Kehani Smith is a mother of three and she has been in the NSW police force for more than 16 years, working in general duties and exhibits for 10 of those years.
Kehani completed Year 12 at Toormina High School and joined the force in 1988, she currently works on a part-time basis ? two days a week.
"This is a great job because you work with good people. It also works well for me because part-time is easy on family life, I can do day or night shift," Kehani said.
As the licensing supervisor Virginia Luskan enforces the Firearms Act, Liquor and Registered Clubs Act and the Security Industry Act.
Servicing north to Iluke and west to Nymboida, Virginia said there is a large area to cover and that this time of year it was busy.
"We recently had the Grafton Cup, and things ran smoothly there, so we are working towards the same goal for the Coffs Cup next month," Virginia said.
Sandy Green is a Detective Leading Senior Constable in Coffs Harbour, although her journey into the force was a long one.
Originally Sandy failed the height regulations to join the police and she worked in the banking industry, but then reapplied after new regulations and was accepted as a probationary constable in 1994.
Sandy has spent time working in general duties, plainclothes working with detectives, working on a task force in relation to paedophilia, and with the child protection unit through Sydney.
But despite her commitment and service to NSW Police, Sandy said her greatest achievement in life had been marrying her husband and the experience of being a mother.
"Policing is a diverse and exciting career, it can have extreme lows, but can also be one of the most rewarding ex- periences," Ms Green said.