The history, the people and the work that makes NYWLE an organization that matters.

NYWLE was developed by a core group of 14 women representative of the many different areas of law enforcement within New York State who served as our founding Board of Directors. These women all shared a vision to strengthen the Law Enforcement Community through the celebration of diversity, the promotion of education and the development of leaders.

To date, our organization has expanded to almost 400 members, led by our Board of Directors comprised of 21 women from across the state.

Each year, NYWLE hosts an annual training conference which affords women and men in law enforcement the opportunity to enhance their professional and personal lives through a range of relevant training topics. The election of new Board Officers takes place at each conference.

We are looking for both women and men who would like to work together to strengthen public recognition of the unique contributions of women to the profession of law enforcement.


Glenville Police Department

Meredith Kaiser is currently a Sergeant with the Glenville Police Department. Sergeant Kaiser has been a police officer with the department since 2008. She …


Bethlehem Police Department

Chief Gina F. Cocchiara began her policing career in 1994 with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and Rensselaer County Sheriff’s respectively. She joined the …

Vice President

Peekskill Police Department - Retired

From 1989 to 2000, Cathy Johansen rose through the ranks at the Peekskill Police Department from patrol officer to Lieutenant. During that time, she …

Immediate Past President

New York State Police

Kimberly Shappy is currently a Technical Lieutenant with the New York State Police assigned to Headquarters – Administration in Albany, NY.  Lieutenant Shappy has …

Recording Secretary

New York State Police - Retired

Nichole Weston recently retired as an Investigator from the New York State Police. With over 20 years of dedicated service to law enforcement, Nichole …

Treasurer & Membership Secretary


Meredith Kaiser – Glenville Police Department

It is my honor to lead the New York Women in Law Enforcement into an energized and inspired 2024. On the heels of the 2023 conference in Suffern, NY that should be an easy task, after hearing from such powerful speakers as former NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Police Department Tania Kinsella. Like these very successful women, we have many strong role models right within the NYWLE organization. Some of these women have served as informal role models and mentors to me during my time in this organization.

As we progress through the next year, I will continue to look up to these mentors for guidance and direction. I will also look behind me so that I may raise up those who may be just starting out in their careers or those who may be going through their own challenges.

As I was looking for current statistics to include in this message, I came across the following information: Since 2021, there has been limited progress attracting women to law enforcement or getting women into leadership roles within law enforcement. Women in law enforcement appear to be stuck around the 13% mark of all law enforcement officers and just 3% are in leadership roles. However, through continued networking, training and socialization, we can do our part to increase these percentages by supporting other women throughout New York State.

Women bring unique strengths and qualities to law enforcement, such as compassion, patience and at times, the ability to communicate more effectively. For instance, a female officer may favor verbal de-escalation over physical force. Additionally, having female officers involved in community outreach may make police officers more approachable by the public.

I am so appreciative for all of the members who support and participate in the New York Women in Law Enforcement. I encourage each person who reads this message to join the NYWLE if you’re are not a member. And if you are a member, I implore you to reach out to at least one other person in the coming year and encourage them to join our efforts.


Deborah Campbell
New York State Police – retired

Anne Fitzsimmons
White Plains Police Department – retired

Joanne Jaffe
New York City Police Department – retired

Nzingha Kellman
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police

Arianna Komninos

Diana Pizzuti
New York City Police Department – retired

Mary Ritayak
SUNY Police Department

Margaret Ryan
Dryden Police Department – retired

Arlene Sabo
SUNY Police – retired
Vassar College Security

Erika Taylor
SUNY Upstate Police Department

Melanie Carden
Legal Advisor

Darcy Wells
Public Relations / Communications Advisor


We would not be able to reach our fundraising goals each year if we did not have the support of our sponsors, please support those that support us! Thank You!


The purpose of the NYWLE Community Service Committee is to explore and organize NYWLE participation in community service projects throughout New York State. As a committee, we will commit to projects which promote a positive relationship between criminal justice and the communities we serve. We will be seeking both long and short term projects for member participation throughout New York State that make use of the special qualities and skills of the members of NYWLE. Whether it is Statewide or regional, focusing our resources, our strength and our sense of responsibility can make a difference. Ideas for projects and service opportunities are welcome.

Send your thoughts and ideas or desire to be on the committee to Gina Cocchiara via info@nywle.org.

The NYWLE Conference Committee organizes and plans the annual conference for NYWLE. Committee members select the location for the conference and create a comprehensive program of topics and speakers for this two day conference for all members of the organization. The Committee organizes and hosts the welcome reception, the conference banquet and various sponsored events.

If interested in joining the Conference Committee please contact info@nywle.org

The NYWLE Membership Committee supports the recruitment, retention & promotion of NYWLE. Their goal is to establish a network of professional people to be used as a resource for developing skills, professionalism and effective leadership. Committee members are Regional Directors who work with regional representatives to enhance communication within NYWLE.

The Membership Committee Chair is Joanne Jaffe.

Current Regional Directors are:

Capital Region: Arianna Komninos
Central Region: Rebecca Thompson
Southern Region: Mary Hansen
Western Region: Barbara Lark

To contact the Chair or Regional Directors, please contact info@nywle.org

The goal of the Training/Leadership committee is to promote the personal and professional development of members at all stages of their careers through the sharing of training/educational opportunities, presentation of programs at the annual conference and other venues, and outreach to students in criminal justice-related programs. The committee will also serve as a clearinghouse to field inquiries and make referrals regarding training and leadership issues. We welcome postings regarding training opportunities open to outside agencies, conference info for other organizations of potential interest to our members, and ideas for future NYWLE conference training topics.

Send your thoughts and ideas or your desire to be on the committee to info@nywle.org

The Website and Technology Committee has the responsibility of setting the strategic direction of the website and ensuring that the web presence supports the goals of NYWLE and serves its members. The committee is in need of members that can participate in meetings and assist in making decisions regarding website content and capabilities. The future goals of the committee are: conduct surveys to assure the website meets the needs of members, create content to publish on the site, participate in usability testing, assist in managing publishing and timeliness of published materials, and providing input to budgetary needs of the website.

If you are interested in participating on this committee please contact info@nywle.org

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