• 06 August 2021
Protect and Serve: Jean Kanokogi, Creating Positive Impact

With the upcoming Women In Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Annual Leadership Training in mind, we’re observing the careers of some truly impressive individuals.


We know that our federal law enforcement officers fulfill an urgent need daily to keep our nation safe and secure in so many ways. While we see many of the unpleasant stories in the news, it’s less frequent that we hear of the successes and uplifting occasions when it comes to this group. Despite this, they respond to the call of duty without expectation, working behind the scenes on things most people could only imagine. 


There are some Federal Law Enforcement Officers who stand out even from the general heroics of their peers. One of these is Dr. Jean Kanokogi, Ph.D., Senior Special Agent.


By day, Special Agent. 


As a woman who has made Federal Law Enforcement her career, Jean Kanokogi is already a bit unusual. After all, women still make up only 13.8% of US federal officers. 


Nevertheless, she’s been highly successful. According to her bio, Jean has worked in law enforcement for the last 23 years. She has been the lead investigator on “several high-profile cases, including the attacks on 9/11 and many that focus on protecting public health.” 


Highly experienced in conducting criminal investigations, Jean earned her Ph.D. in psychology with a dissertation on “The Interrogation Experiences that Transition Novices from Beginners to Experts” in 2018. Published in several professional law enforcement publications, and has a regular column in Eighteen Eleven. She is a subject matter expert “in cognitive interviews, defensive tactics, firearms safety, and engagement and defensive tactics.” She’s even consulted for TV’s Law and Order


It’s clear just from her dedication to public service that Jean strives to make a positive impact on the world. Give her the work, and she’ll do it. And looking at the rest of her background, this makes perfect sense. Jean’s day job as a Special Agent fits right in.


By night, “Jill” of many trades


Focused not only on helping the public by keeping criminals and terrorists off the streets, Jean also puts significant effort into some other causes that are near to her heart. 


Taking her experience in law enforcement and psychology a step further, Jean dedicates time to mental health programs for FLEOs. Currently, she does this by serving as Director of Mental Health and Peer Support Services at the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA).


Besides that, here is something few others can say: Jean is a “fifth-degree black belt in judo and a highly respected sensei.” Indeed, somewhere around investigating crimes for the federal government, earning several degrees, writing, and volunteering, Jean has also found the time to train and teach judo. And that isn’t all. She’s found a way to bring the two passions together, teaching other LEOs Judo techniques to increase the tools in their public-defense skillsets.


In connection with US Judo, Jean participates in the FLEOA 111 Project, a division of FLEOA that “provides training and resources specifically designed to optimize the safety of law enforcement and citizens alike.” When we spoke with her, Jean had just recently finished teaching a group of police, where she was the only woman among about 10 instructors.


A history of fighting for women


As a fifth-degree black belt and former USA Judo team member, it’s obvious that judo is important to Jean. 


Jean follows the example of her mother, Rena “Rusty” Kanokogi, “The Mother of Women’s Judo.” A trailblazer of her own sort, Rusty Kanokogi dedicated her life to her craft - judo - and to fighting for women’s rights within judo and all sports.


Jean recently published the book Get Up & Fight, a memoir of Rusty’s life. Says Jean, it’s about her life of “fighting for women’s equality in sports...her battle was waged for decades, from the time her own first-place [judo] trophy was ripped away from her for being a woman in 1959.” 


Rusty Kanokogi stayed resilient and fought hard for what she deserved. Jean took that lesson and applied it to judo like her mother before her, but also well beyond. She’s breaking barriers, making space for those that follow her, and truly making the world a better place with every move. 


I’ve always measured my success by how positively I can impact a person and make them excel.” – Jean Kanokogi


Continuing to blaze the trail


Jean - and her mother, Rena - are testament that women do indeed belong in law enforcement - and anywhere else they choose to be. Jean is spectacular, and, fortunately, she can share her and her mothers’ stories - with WIFLE and beyond. But she’s not alone. There is a multitude of other highly accomplished women in federal law enforcement whose stories we may not yet have heard. We may never hear them. But they move forward and continue to make their mark on our nation. 


Groups like Women in Federal Law Enforcement are invaluable, to both the members and the public as a whole. WIFLE brings this demographic of women together. It provides them with education, resources, mentors, and community. And it encourages more women to join the ranks of federal law enforcement all the time. 



Article authored by and containing the opinions of Starr Wright USA. This article is offered solely for informational purposes. Starr Wright USA is a marketing name for Starr Wright Insurance Agency, Inc. and its affiliate(s). Starr Wright USA is an insurance agency specializing in insurance solutions for federal employees and federal contractors. For more information, visit WrightUSA.com. Starr Wright USA is a division of Starr Insurance Companies, which is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc.