Chief William Bratton said the transition of adding more women to the force was just beginning when MacArthur and others were hired. “She and her colleagues were trailblazers at that time,” he said. MacArthur, 50, rose through the ranks from patrols and vice to field training officer and captain. Currently she is commanding officer of the consent decree division. In 1992, the courts approved the agreement to improve women and minority officer promotions. Although the number of women working in law enforcement remains relatively low, they hold more than 10 percent of top administrative jobs within police and sheriff’s departments in the state, said Alice Jaramillo, president of the Women Peace Officers Association of California. Jaramillo noted that laws and other restrictions have changed some tactics used by officers on the street, meaning less brute force and brawn, and better communication skills to control and convince. “Really, it’s about your ability to communicate effectively and utilize the skills provided to you,” Jaramillo said. “It’s not necessarily the size that matters.” [email protected] (818) 713-3746160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I wasn’t afraid,” she said. When her partner finally got through the door, MacArthur emerged bruised, bloody and with a few loose teeth, but also with a newfound respect in the department, where, when she started 26 years ago, some questioned whether women officers could hold their own on the streets. “I wouldn’t wish that (fight) on anybody, but it set the stage that women can do the job,” MacArthur said. Now, she’s risen all the way to commander, and next month will begin her newest assignment as the first woman in the department’s history to oversee training for all new recruits and the more than 9,000 sworn personnel. When she began her LAPD career in 1980, women comprised about 3 percent of the department’s sworn personnel. Today, they make up about 18 percent. It was 2 a.m., and Sandy Jo MacArthur and her partner were struggling with a man strung out on PCP. In the doorway scuffle, the Los Angeles police officer somehow ended up inside the man’s pitch-black house with his gangster son. Her partner got locked out. Suddenly, she was standing face-to-face with the angry men, and the fight began. The blows hit her jaw and stomach first, and then the men tried to choke her. Knocked to the ground, MacArthur used her police academy training to assess her situation – and concluded she was OK.