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Women in aviation: meet the women of CVG’s police force


Airport Police

If you were one of the 8.7 million passengers who made your way through CVG Airport in 2023, you likely walked or drove (let’s hope you didn’t speed) by one of the airport’s police officers. You could have passed Officer Jeannine Nocero, who is often patrolling the concourses, or perhaps you saw a K-9 officer team supervised by Lieutenant (Lt.) Christy Strucke, or spotted a member of the ramp security escort service supervised by Lt. Emily Ritter. All three women took a break from their busy days protecting the public to discuss their roles at the airport.

What inspired you to become an officer at CVG?

Officer Nocero: I was interested in getting into law enforcement when I was younger, but I never had the opportunity to bring that interest to fruition. Then in 2019, I was working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and I met a former female Airport Police Department (APD) officer. I told her how I was thinking of getting into law enforcement, and she took me under her wing. I also have a daughter for whom I want to make sure I am a role model. I want to instill in her that it is never too late to pursue your passion in life and that she can do anything she desires if she has the heart and is willing to put in the work.

Police Officer at 2023 Training Exercise Photo of Officer Nocero from a 2023 training exercise.

What do your typical days look like? What are your main responsibilities?

Lt. Ritter: As the Special Operations Section Commander, I’m typically in the office. My more exciting days include department training days on the range, or on the mat (fun fact, I was a certified women’s self-defense instructor), or in the cruiser.

Ritter conducting self defense course Photo of Lt. Ritter conducting a self-defense course.

In addition, I recently became certified as an airport security coordinator for CVG, and I was elected president of the Northern Kentucky Police Chiefs Association in January. I am a committee member of the Northern Kentucky Police and Sheriff’s Training Center, a Kentucky Law Enforcement Council certified police training academy, and I am undergoing an airport management certification program.

Lt. Strucke: I’ve worked at APD for 14 years. My current rank is Lieutenant, and my role is Patrol Commander. As Patrol Commander, I am responsible for all the patrol officers, as well as the explosive detection K-9 teams. If staffing minimums are not met, I step in and help the patrol officers. In addition, I am an airport security coordinator for CVG.

Airport Police Photo of airport police officers. Lt. Strucke is second from the right.

Officer Nocero: I could be on the ramp, in the concourses, or in various places around campus. My main responsibilities are to ensure public safety, enforce laws and regulations, conduct patrols, respond to emergencies, conduct investigations, collaborate with airport security personnel, and provide assistance to travelers.

What would you say to a woman who is interested in becoming an officer at CVG?

Lt. Strucke: I’d highly encourage them to apply. It’s a tough path, but so satisfying. Many women think you can’t achieve work/life balance in law enforcement, but that isn’t the case. While challenging, I still feel a lot of support from CVG as a female officer and a mother.

Lt. Ritter: Women have something special to offer this career field, but for all those wanting to do this job, you must earn the badge. Be someone worth trusting and control what you can: your effort and your attitude. Put in the effort to physically prepare for the stresses of the job, and exceed the established fitness standards.

Any stories you’d like to tell?

Lt. Ritter: The first time I applied to become a police officer, I failed my fitness test and was removed from the hiring process. I failed the first event: the bench press. I knew law enforcement was my calling and had no plans of giving up. Being at Eastern Kentucky University, I was able to seek out and train with someone familiar with the police academy test protocols. I improved on the bench press and push-ups, so when the test was offered again a few weeks later, I was ready. This experience is why I encourage any woman who expresses interest in law enforcement to begin training early and maintain that drive for fitness throughout their career.

Two police officers talking Photo of Lt. Strucke talking with another airport police officer.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Officer Nocero: Successful female role models within the CVG Airport Police Department give us opportunities to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in law enforcement and can help attract more women to pursue careers in this field.

If you're interested in learning more about job openings within the Airport Police Department, email hrinfo@cvgairport.com.