Man­a­tee deputies give Girl Scouts a look at law en­force­ment work

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Local - Ryan Cal­li­han: 941-745-7095, @RCCal­li­han BY RYAN CAL­LI­HAN

Many peo­ple con­sider a ca­reer in law en­force­ment to be a “man’s job.” The Man­a­tee County Sher­iff’s Of­fice is try­ing to change that im­pres­sion.

On Satur­day, more than 20 deputies col­lab­o­rated with the Girl Scouts of Amer­ica for a day packed to the brim with law en­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

About 80 mid­dle school and high school girls cy­cled through five sta­tions that al­lowed them to ex­plore all kinds of ca­reer op­tions within the sher­iff’s of­fice.

“I think (to­day’s event) caters to a lot of dif­fer­ent sub­jects. There’s science with the dogs here and the horses, and they’re do­ing fin­ger­prints,” said 15-yearold Olivia Bai­ley. “You’ve got an­i­mals and science, so I think it’s very in­clu­sive.”

The dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded foren­sics, mount- ed pa­trol, SWAT, K9 and fin­ger­print­ing. Each sta­tion also fea­tured pre­sen­ta­tions from fe­male deputies with the sher­iff’s of­fice. Lt. Chris­tine Thoma­son said op­por­tu­ni­ties like this make for eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

“This is an honor com­ing here and work­ing this type of event just to see the ex­pres­sions on the girls’ faces and see the dif­fer­ent things that they can do and re­al­ize that women in law en­force­ment can do just the same as men when it comes to han­dling dogs or a crime scene,” said Thoma­son, who is the sher­iff’s of­fice’s only fe­male K9 trainer and han­dler. “It’s just great to see their faces and know that women can be just as great as the men out here.”

Is­abela Men­dez, a 12year-old Girl Scout, said that’s one of the im­pres­sions she walked away with.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to see so many fe­male deputies out here,” she said. “Ob­vi­ously, when you think of po­lice of­fi­cers, a lot of peo­ple think of men, but it’s good to see that there’s an equal amount of men and women and that they’re equally rep­re­sented.”

Even still, the sher­iff’s of­fice would like to see more women join their ranks. Ac­cord­ing to sher­iff’s of­fice spokesman Randy War­ren, just over 30 per­cent of those who work for the agency are women. Tammy Peters, an event co­or­di­na­tor for the Girl Scouts, said she could see that num­ber ris­ing quickly by get­ting girls in­volved at a young age.

“I have lots of girls in­ter­ested in that track, and this re­ally gets them a first­hand look at the things they could do,” Peters said. “A lot of times, girls just have one thing in mind of be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, but this shows them all the dif­fer­ent roles they could take be­cause right now we have so many rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all the dif­fer­ent av­enues in the Man­a­tee County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.”

Peters plans a themed camp­ing trip for the Girl Scouts of Man­a­tee ev­ery year, but this one may have the long­est last­ing ef­fect.

“These girls are in heaven,” she said. “You try to find things for them to get ex­cited, but MSO blew it out of the park to­day.”

‘‘ I WASN’T EX­PECT­ING TO SEE SO MANY FE­MALE DEPUTIES OUT HERE.

Is­abela Men­dez, a 12-year-old Girl Scout

RYAN CAL­LI­HAN rcal­li­[email protected]­ton.com

SWAT medic Amy Kemp, the only fe­male deputy in the unit, helps a Girl Scout into a pro­tec­tive vest dur­ing a demo and tour of an ar­mored ve­hi­cle dur­ing Satur­day’s ca­reer ex­plo­ration day with the Man­a­tee County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

RYAN CAL­LI­HAN rcal­li­[email protected]­ton.com

A group of Girl Scouts shows love to K9 Deputy GeeBee dur­ing an all-day demon­stra­tion of pos­si­ble ca­reers with the Man­a­tee County Sher­iff’s Of­fice on Satur­day.

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