TEMPE, Ariz – Officer Candace Kanavel of the Tempe Police Department was crowned Miss Arizona earlier this year. Now she’ll represent The Grand Canyon State and become the first police officer to compete for the Miss USA crown on Friday.
When Officer Kanavel became Miss Arizona in June, she said, “Knowing that your dreams are not mutually exclusive; you shouldn’t limit yourself to one thing just because it doesn’t match up with the other.”
As she continues to crush stereotypes, the officer is no stranger to pressure since she works as a hostage negotiator on the SWAT team, ABC 15 Arizona reported.
“A lot of the qualities that I have to have as an officer translate directly to my role as Miss Arizona USA and vice versa. I have to be a really good communicator. I have to be a leader. I have to be able to be flexible with whatever’s going on and work through different situations,” she said.
Officer Kanavel said her career choice with training in crisis intervention management helped to prepare her for the high-stakes national pageant competition.
“When I’m in my police uniform, I’m empowered to help people,” Officer Kanavel said. “And when I’m in my sash and crown, I’m empowered to help people. And so I’m doing the same job, just in a different uniform.”
The 27-year-old beauty queen-police officer is a graduate of Arizona State University. She also wants to help women feel strong, safe, and confident, which part of her platform, titled #YesSheCan.
“I started Yes She Can because of my own story, but also feeling like people constantly look at me as a very feminine woman and discount what I may be capable of,” Officer Kanavel said. “I know that happens to so many women, especially being in my line of work as a police officer. I think people see femininity as weakness, and it’s not.”
She also understands the importance of bridging the gap between the institution of law enforcement and the community, ABC 15 Arizona reported.
“I want to give people who aren’t in law enforcement a little insight into what officers are like,” Officer Kanavel said. “We have hobbies, we have families, we have all these different things outside of what we do for a living.”
The 2023 Miss USA pageant will be held Friday in Reno, Nevada. Viewers can watch and root for Officer Kanavel on the CW channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT, according to Insider.
The winner of Miss USA will represent the United States at Miss Universe.