Hostage negotiator makes history as first law enforcement officer to compete in Miss USA pageant

The first law enforcement officer to compete for the Miss USA title will make history when the contestants take the stage on September 29.

The self-described beauty queen by day and police officer by night, Candace Kanavel, will represent Arizona on Friday, according to a news release from the Tempe Police Department.

Hostage negotiator to Miss Arizona USA

The two positions may initially seem unrelated, but according to Kanavel, they are actually extremely similar.

The 27-year-old, a hostage negotiator for the SWAT team, has said that the abilities she developed as an officer have been helpful when participating in pageants.

“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 told KNXV.

Her platform includes assisting women in developing a sense of strength and assurance.

“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.” 

Kanavel founded the initiative Yes She Can, which emphasises self-assurance and capacity.

“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,” she 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.”

“I want to give people who aren’t in law enforcement a little insight into what officers are like,” Kanavel said. “We have hobbies, we have families, we have all these different things outside of what we do for a living.” 

If you liked this story, be sure to read about the police officers who saved a 92-year-old World War II veteran.

    It’s awesome to see a law enforcement officer represented in the Miss USA pageant! We’ll be cheering her on.