March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. The City of Roseville is recognizing influential women who are doing exceptional work and bringing positive change to the community.
Roseville Police Chief Erika Scheider originally thought she’d pursue a career in social work.
She was finishing up her degree in psychology and communications at Augsburg University when a police ride-along changed her mind.
“I realized this is what I wanted to do. I loved everything about the job,” Scheider said.
“Before that, I just didn’t know what police work was. I thought it was what you saw on the TV show COPS. Instead, I saw how much you got to be out in the community and how much interaction you have with the community. You really have the ability to make a positive difference.”
Scheider joined the Roseville Police Department in 1997, serving in almost every role in the department including patrol officer, detective, hostage and crisis negotiator, and deputy chief.
She was named chief in 2020, which is still a rarity in the profession. About 13% of full-time sworn officers in local law enforcement agencies are women in the United States and only 9% of police chiefs are female, according to the Police Executive Research Forum.
Under Scheider’s leadership, the department has innovated including forming a Community Action Team of officers and social workers dedicated to working alongside community partners to find creative solutions to the problems affecting residents’ quality of life. The department has created a multicultural advisory committee comprised of community members and expanded the school resource officer program in collaboration with Roseville Area Schools.
The department continues to release detailed annual reports on use of force and traffic stops to provide better transparency to the community it serves. Roseville Police has also launched new programs that help drivers fix burnt-out taillights and other equipment violations instead of ticketing them.
“In every industry, you have to be constantly looking at new ways to innovate,” Scheider said. “Although we are a good department, we are always looking at ways to improve.”
Within the department, Scheider and her leadership team are focused on officer recruitment, retention, health and wellness, which includes everything from fitness challenges to more family-friendly schedules.
Scheider is quick to credit her fellow 56 officers and staff with the department’s success.
“It truly is the dedication, bravery, professionalism and service of our officers and support staff that make our department what it is,” she said. She also credits supportive city leaders who are open to progressive ideas.
Scheider grew up in Fridley. Her father was in sales and her mom was an administrative assistant. She played basketball and softball in high school and still enjoys athletics today. She is married with three teenage children.
Scheider holds a master’s degree in police leadership, administration and education from the University of St. Thomas and a graduate certificate in criminal justice from University of Virginia.
Scheider said she has never felt out of place being a female in a male-dominated profession. “I had a lot of support,” she said. But her lack of connections in law enforcement initially made her anxious.
“It was intimidating not being in the law enforcement culture. I didn’t have a family member in law enforcement. I didn’t have a mentor. I literally came in the door and there was this whole new world,” she said.
Scheider said she remembers stressing about how to put on her uniform and gear properly in those early days. That experience stays with her as she and her team are recruiting and onboarding new hires today.
“That is something that we really recognize as we hire new community service officers and officers. It’s really important that we mentor new officers because they may not have that uncle, aunt, cousin or sibling in law enforcement to give them that support.”
She and her team also stress the importance of strong communication skills to new officers.
“Public safety is more than just fighting crime. You have to be able to talk and connect with people. If you can do that, there’s a lot of situations you can de-escalate and resolve.”