Don’t let that sweet face fool you—this woman can kick criminal butt and be back home to tuck in the kids. It's all in a day’s work.
PO1 Jenny Ian “Jane” Lee, a police community relations (PCR) personnel of the Philippine National Police’s Regional Public Safety Battalion 9 in Zamboanga City, was recently named one of the top five prettiest policewomen in the Philippines in a viral video posted by the Facebook page PRO1 Lady Cops.
With the video racking up over a million views as of this writing, it’s pretty clear netizens are thrilled to find out that there are legit hotties like Jane lurking in the country’s male-dominated police force. But for Jane, who has already earned over 50,000 followers on Facebook, the real surprise is how a 36-year-old mom of four (!!!) like her could even snag that title.
In this FHM interview, Jane gets real about why she chose a career fighting crime, what it’s like to be one of the PNP’s proverbial roses among the thorns, and how she balances beauty and badassery in her sworn duty to serve and protect.
What does being a Police Community Relations personnel entail?
One of the main roles of a PCR personnel is to interact and collaborate with the community. We work with local organizations, leaders, and ordinary citizens to create and maintain comfortable and safe living. We work side by side with community groups to address specific problems or work toward certain goals. As a PCR personnel, I'm always with the community establishing connections with them and creating a friendly and secure atmosphere. Most of the time, we conduct information drives and I act as a teacher or adviser of a certain school or community, giving them information they need specifically on drugs and cybercrime to help prevent them from becoming victims.
Why did you choose this career?
I have always dreamed of becoming a woman in uniform—it's so astig! But also it runs in the blood—my dad was a police officer, too, and he inspired me in so many ways. He is, for me, the real-life Cardo Dalisay from Ang Probinsyano. Whenever I heard stories about the heroism he displayed and the awards he had brought home, not to mention all the compliments shared by his colleagues, subordinates, and civilians he had helped, all those things convinced me to be more like him when I was growing up.
Did you encounter any opposition from your family or friends before you took up this career?
Ironically, my dad was the opposition. I remember when I was young, I was watching TV and I saw men in uniform marching on the ground. I told my mom, “Mi, I wanna be like them. Pwede naman babae diyan di ba? Ano'ng age ba pwede?” She firmly answered, “Your dad won’t allow you. Sabi niya nga di ba, wala siyang papayagan sa mga anak niya na magpulis o magsundalo.”
He didn’t want my siblings and me to experience what he had gone through when he joined the service; he said it was tough and he was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to make it. But with our persistence, he ended up conceding to our idea. I was already 30 years old when I finally convinced him and joined the force. I can say I was lucky to be able to do it!
What challenges do you encounter as a female in a male-dominated workplace such as the police force?
The only challenge that I encounter in my job, just as any other policewoman does, is being a mother at the same time. Maintaining both is quite strenuous, which I don’t think policemen endure to the same degree. As a working mom, my kids are always at the back of my mind, no matter how busy I am at work. So I have to check in on them at school whenever there is a chance to do so. Especially when kids get sick, the motherly instinct kicks in. But through the years, I can say I’ve been able to manage everything well.
Do you still get to indulge your girly side as a policewoman? Can you wear, let's say makeup at work?
Yes! As a policewoman, we should have “pleasing personality.” No one is “unattractive.” It’s just how you project yourself when you interact with the people you serve, they won’t be hesitant to approach you. At the same time, they will look up to you with a certain level of respect. Putting on makeup is just a part of enhancing your beauty. Just don’t overdo it.
I also find makeup and other kikay things really useful when it comes to performing in our gigs in PRO9 combo and as an RPSB9 dancer—it just so happens that I’m a member of the PNP band and the dance group of our battalion. These are where my girly side kicks in.
Are there any typically masculine behaviors that have rubbed off on you because you’ve been around men for so long?
In terms of behavior, I am far from being boyish. But when it comes to outfits, I have partly embraced that idea. Before entering the service, girly clothes were totally my thing; I even have a collection of stilettos, wedges, and high-heeled boots. But now that I’m already in the service, I found sneakers and rubber shoes to be more comfy. And on my regular days, I’m more of a T-shirt kind of girl.
Do the men at work treat you like a delicate flower or just one of the guys?
I’ve always been treated like one of the boys, even when I was not a policewoman. In my circle, where majority are men, they would sometimes joke around as if to treat me like a lady, but that just won’t work; doing that is a big joke for me.
How does it feel to be named one of the prettiest policewomen in the Philippines?
It’s so overwhelming! You know what makes me feel more flattered? It’s the idea that at my age, and with four kids, I was still considered for such a title.
What are some misconceptions people have about police work, and about women doing police work, that you would like to debunk?
For some people, when they know you’re a cop, they would instantly label you as “kotong,” “papogi or paganda,” “porma lang.” These negative notions deny the fact that our job is never easy.
In my case, aside from being a PCR personnel, I do a lot of other functions. I join raids, control traffic, and in some instances whenever there are car collisions, I have to stop and act as first responder whenever there is a need for police presence, even when I am off duty. That is when “call of duty” comes in; even if you are a woman, you still do these things because you have sworn to perform your obligations.
What are your biggest sources of fulfillment as a woman working in the police force?
An unforgettable one is the award we received from a successful joint operation that resulted in the arrest of a suspected cybersex den owner this year. Also, the recognition that I got from imparting my knowledge and creating awareness on drugs and cybercrime and other PCR activities, which I really enjoyed a lot. Plus, the talents I basically possess that, until now, I still get to make use of in some of the events inside the PNP.
I am always fulfilled in my passion for my job, which leads me from one successful story to another.