With California continuing to lead the nation in the number of police and sheriff’s patrol officers, employment opportunities for these law enforcers will remain in peak demand. Qualified candidates must participate in a series of all-embracing instruction that covers a number of applicable subject matters, including community relations. In Los Angeles, deputies earn a median annual salary of more than $94,000, according to current data. Although this vocation attracts mostly men, Sheila Brown says she would like to see more women enter the field for a plethora of reasons.
“It’s a very challenging, rewarding, secure and prestigious profession,” said Brown, a senior deputy at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “Women have a different perspective, utilize a different policing style, rely less on physical force and more on communications skills.”
What educational requirements did you pass to land the job?
“I had a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree when I applied. I attended the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Academy for six months, which consisted of physical training, defensive tactics, criminal law, first aid, emergency driving techniques, conflict management and firearms.”
How has your vocation helped you become an effective public servant?
“I ran a structured program for at-risk kids. It was very rewarding to see wayward youth transform in a positive way by something I said or just being a role model or mentor.”
How should women prepare for this duty?
“Even though the minimum requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, college education will enhance career objectives and aid in dealing with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. Women should prepare themselves physically by running, weight lifting and circuit training to improve endurance and upper-body strength.”
What is your pointed message to aspiring female deputies?
“I advise them to not be afraid to pursue law enforcement, because of the stereotype of it being a male-dominated career. If they are hard-working, assertive, able to think on their feet, have high self-esteem, a strong personality, and personal integrity to do right when no one is looking, they will succeed as a deputy sheriff.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.