BROADVIEW HEIGHTS -- They are the men and women who protect and serve.
However, when it comes to police officers' uniforms, it's a man's world, and the women just had to put up with it.
Police Sergeant Tanya Sirl, who didn't want her department to be identified, and Broadview Heights resident, Denise Czack, teamed up to create a line of uniforms just for women. Their company, Her Blue Wear Uniforms, recognized a problem female law enforcement officers face: Their uniforms were designed for men's bodies.
"You'd have to spend another 25 to 35 bucks to alter the pants. You learn to suffer. Cinch them up with a belt tight," says Sirl.
But other than appearance, there is a safety issue to consider. Men's pants typically have a longer rise, thus putting the waistband and the placement of the gun holster above a woman's hips. Sirl says that creates an awkward angle for drawing the gun, and delays reaction time.
The idea for the company came from a day on the job that Sirl will never forget.
"I was chasing someone in a foot pursuit, and jumping a fence. And because my pants hung all the way down, they snagged and ripped me from bellybutton to behind. I did catch the bad guy, but I'm holding my 'all together' in dignity," says Sirl.
Uniform companies told Sirl they only provided men's pants because female officers were too small of a market.
Frustrated, Sirl turned to Czack, her close friend and former sister-in-law, and Czack launched Her Blue Wear Uniforms two years ago. Czack says there is clearly a demand in the market.
"There's 280,000 women, and if you put all women who wear these uniforms, it's 855,000. That's when you've got meter maids and you've got crossing guards and security guards," explains Czack.
The startup company is being applauded by female officers around the country, and getting attention from potential investors.
While there are early struggles, the company hopes to turn a profit within the next year.
"I do my job genderlessly. It doesn't matter if I'm a man or woman. I just can't do men's pants," says Sirl.
For more information on the company, CLICK HERE to visit their website.