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Behind The Badge: Women Who Serve - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Behind The Badge: Women Who Serve

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Behind The Badge: Women Who Serve Behind The Badge: Women Who Serve
HELENA -

The Lewis &  Clark County Sheriff’s Office is looking for more full-time female deputies.

Joani Tompkins is currently the only full-time female deputy.

“A lot of the times I get sized up when I get out of the patrol truck,” said Tompkins. 

Although having suspects size her up is something she is used to after 15 years.

“I try to be a little more assertive so that they understand that they can’t outsmart me, outwit me or out power me,” Tompkins continued. 

The department also has two part-time volunteer female deputies, Stella Kent and Jasmine Lucero Benevides.

The two trained in the reserves together three years ago and completed 240 hours of training.

“They are vested with arrest powers. They are vested with the ability to go out and patrol by themselves,” said Sheriff Leo Dutton.

Benevides is in school to be a nurse and Kent works for the Montana State Fund full-time as an administrator.

Sheriff Dutton says he has a hard time finding full-time female deputies because the job comes with risk.

“It is demanding physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. All of those kinds of things. It will pull on your soul,” said Dutton.

“A full shift consists of 12-hour shifts and by the end of the night you’re just….you know,  you’re tired,” said Benevides. 

But with great risk comes great reward.

“When you know you’ve really helped someone in their life in the most critical moments of their life,” said Kent. 

Sheriff Dutton said it is particularly useful to have female deputies work on cases involving assaults or rapes.

“Sometimes it’s just comforting to have the same gender talk to you when you’ve been through a traumatic incident, when you’ve had a male attack you,” said Dutton. 

“They may just assume we’re going to be better with them and be more willing to tell us stuff,” said Kent. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in working for the Sheriff’s Office you can apply online at http://www.mtletc.org/

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