Amanda Rosier was The Dalles Police Department’s first officer to win the coveted Victor G. Atiyeh award as the top graduate of her police academy class.
A few weeks ago, she achieved another first, becoming the department’s first female member of the SERT team.
The Special Emergency Response Team is called out a couple times a year on average, for things like high-risk warrants or barricaded subjects.
But they train monthly at a minimum, for four hours a pop, and are required to maintain fitness standards.
Rosier, who joined the department two years ago, has added weight training to the usual cardio workout that she does after each shift in the department’s workout room.
SERT team leader Sgt. Dan Nelson wanted to make it very clear that Rosier was not a token addition to the team, done as a nod to diversity.
Rather, when two openings came up on SERT, the group of nine officers all agreed that they wanted Rosier to apply.
She and another male officer applied, a process that included a physical agility test.
She passed the first time, but the male officer took two attempts to pass.
The testing is the same for all applicants, male or female, Nelson said.
The physical agility test includes running up a long hill in full tactical gear —which weighs about 60 pounds — while in a gas mask.
Then, on the top of the hill, they have to immediately do a marksmanship test.
“Amanda has distinguished herself since she got here, before she got off probation,” Nelson said. She was unanimously voted to join the SERT team.
“Amanda is very level- headed, very intelligent, very calm and collected —all the things that we look for,” Nelson said.
When she heard about the opening, and that her fellow officers wanted her to apply, Rosier said she needed to try on the tactical gear first, “to see if I can move in it.”
A petite 5-foot-2, Rosier was a gymnast — her favorite event was the uneven parallel bars — and she also enjoys hiking and kayaking. Gymnasts are tough, and she rattled off the various injuries she’s had, including a broken leg and broken fingers.
One of her big reasons for joining SERT is the extra training. “You can tell the difference between the guys on the team and guys who aren’t, and it’s the additional training,” she said.
Rosier added, “any additional training you get can always improve your own skills and ability and that’s what I want — not to mention it’s a challenge. I’ve always been drawn to doing something that’s hard to figure out.”
And she does mean always, because, yes, she was that toddler who escaped her crib.
“My mother called me independent,” Rosier said.
SERT team members wear tactical vests with heavy plates for stopping rifle ballistics, plus pockets to contain extra ammunition magazines and other gear.
They weigh about 35 to 40 pounds, well above the six-pound regular vest officers wear.
In addition to their tactical vest, they carry an AR-15 rifle, a pistol, gas mask, a radio, helmet, and a first aid kit.
Some SERT members also carry breaching tools strapped to their back, which adds another 30 pounds.
Rosier said she’s never been treated differently at the department because of her gender. “I’ve had stories from other female officers of the trials they’ve been through.
“I haven’t really had that, so we’re moving in the right direction. Here, I’ve only been encouraged to do whatever I put out there as my goals.”
The department has had few applicants overall – a problem nationwide – and even fewer female applicants.
But Rosier’s presence on the force may help change that. She said she’s heard from other officers and citizens that when young girls see her in action, they become motivated to go into law enforcement.
Nelson, who has been on the SERT team for 22 years either as a member or its leader, is stepping down soon, and turning over the reins to Officer Josh Jones.
Nelson explained why, “Because I cannot maintain the physical standards that Amanda can. It’s a young officer’s game.”