written by Fiorella Michelucci
Coast Guard Reservist
In July, several Coast Guard members attended the Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) conference in Arlington, Virginia. WIFLE supports women in law enforcement and the military by providing training and resources as well as engaging with the community, organizations and government to address critical issues women in law enforcement face such as recruitment, retention, family care and self-care.
The conference had more than 470 attendees representing all agencies under the Department Of Homeland Security umbrella, as well as Department of Defense and other government agencies.
This year marked the first time Coast Guard members were award recipients. One member received the highest award given by WIFLE.
The award winners this year, nominated by their commands, were Petty Officer 3rd Class Samantha Constant, a maritime enforcement specialist, and Petty Officer 1st Class Chelsea Huff, a machinery technician.
Constant received the Julie Y. Cross Award, which honors acts of exceptional courage or heroism and stamina and willingness to go beyond the call of duty, resulting in an extraordinary achievement in the field of law enforcement.
Constant received this award for her response in July 2018 when her team intercepted a 30-foot unseaworthy sailboat with 120 Haitian migrants aboard who were attempting to enter the United States. Her efforts to rescue the migrants and speak with them during this difficult evolution resulted in the rescue of 103 adults and 17 children.
Huff received the Outstanding Law Enforcement Employee Award, which recognizes individuals who have shown sustained superior performance throughout their career and who serve as role models for women in law enforcement.
Huff received this award for her continuous demonstration of responsibility and devotion to duty. Huff is responsible for detecting and seizing more than 7,000 kilograms of cocaine valued at over $211 million. Additionally, when a fellow officer suffered a brain hemorrhage, Huff utilized her emergency medical skills to provide life-saving care to the officer for over 13 hours until arriving at the trauma center in San Antonio, Texas. Huff selflessly fought her own exhaustion and maintained the officer’s airway, placed and maintained IV solutions and placed a catheter to monitor kidney function of her teammate. Because of Huff’s perseverance, the officer received life-saving care while in transport to the medical facility.
The WIFLE conference was an opportunity for those in attendance to learn and develop professional relationships. Many take the opportunity to share personal stories, provide mentorship, learn about other services and agencies and what they may be facing as times change.