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Lone Woman LAFD Recruit Resigns

Despite repeated efforts at reform, the percentage of female firefighters remains less than 3 percent

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

The only woman selected for a class of Los Angeles Fire Department recruits has resigned in the latest setback to a decades-long effort to increase the number of women in the department's ranks, it was reported today. But mistreatment by men was not an issue.

Erica Juergens, who was among 70 recruits who entered training in January, resigned Monday, citing personal reasons, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"I didn't feel like it was ultimately the job for me," Juergens told The Times Wednesday. "But I was very welcomed and offered support and encouragement along the way."

The Fire Department has struggled to overcome a legacy of discrimination and bias complaints that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal payouts in recent years.

About half of all uniformed employees are white while the city is 29 percent white. And despite repeated efforts at reform, the percentage of female firefighters remains less 3 percent -- as in 1995, according to The Times.

Yusef Robb, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, said the office was not aware of the reasons for Juergens' resignation. But her departure underscores the importance of hiring and retaining qualified female firefighter.

"We can debate what percentage of female recruits is possible, but 0 percent is absolutely unacceptable," he told The Times.

—City News Service

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