Female officer makes history joining unit to help Philadelphia's most vulnerable

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Police Officer Meika Bell has become the first female to ever join the Central Service Detail unit, which focuses on helping the city's most vulnerable.

"It's a big deal," said Officer Bell.

She is one month into her new post and feels she's already making a difference on the streets alongside her all-male squad.

"Females can relate to me more, so they are more able to express their needs and wants as opposed to a male," she said.

The needs include shelter and food, but sometimes even personal matters, and that's not lost on Bell or her unit.

"There are just as many homeless females as there are males," said Sgt. Eric Brooks. "(Bell) is very personable. She gets along really well with certain ones that we've had. I sense they feel more comfortable talking to her."

The unit uses a social service approach as opposed to enforcement.

An estimated 400 people sleep on the streets in Center City every night. It's a statistic only compounded by the pandemic.

Bell is a registered nurse and uses her medical background when responding to service calls.

While she's the first in this detail, Bell hopes she won't be the last.
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