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Delaware State Police launch new program to attract female aviators

Delaware State Police

Delaware State Police announced a new program to encourage more women to consider becoming helicopter pilots.

The inaugural Women in Aviation and Law Enforcement Seminar was inspired by the Delaware State Police’s first and only female pilot, Corporal Carol Parton.

DSP Aviation Unit Commander Captain Jeff Whitmarsh said Parton herself will help lead the seven week program, which will go over the history of women in aviation, and give people the chance to ride along on missions.

Whitmarsh thinks the lack of female helicopter pilots has a lot to do with exposure.

“What I’m hoping is, when someone sees this program and they speak to a competent pilot like Corporal Parton, they think ‘Wow, I could actually do that,’” he said.

While one of the top goals of the seminar is to recruit more women into aviation, Whitmarsh says the program is open to anyone.

“For us, we would love for folks within our ranks to seek out this profession and for more women to be a part of our aviation program. And at the same time, general citizens who have an interest, we’d love to have them join us, as well.”

DSP will take applications through Feb. 1 and choose 10-15 participants.

The program is slated to start in March.

Mark Arehart is an award-winning reporter/producer. Before returning to Delaware, Arehart was a reporter for WKSU and Ideastream Public Media in Northeast Ohio. He previously hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He has worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.