Education and online savvy were the dominant topics of conversation
Thursday morning when 22 Girl Scouts toured the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s
Department as part of a “Classroom to Career” program designed to expose the young
women to a variety of career paths.
The girls, ranging in ages from 10 to 17, toured the Sheriff’s
Department headquarters in order learn more about a career in law enforcement
and the myriad employment opportunities offered by the department. The Girl Scouts of the San Gorgonio Council
toured the Sheriff’s Office, Intelligence Division, Public Affairs, Homicide,
Crimes Against Children, Volunteer Forces, Central Patrol Station and Employee
Resources. Despite the variety in the tour, two topics continued to resurface:
education and online awareness.
“There are a lot of opportunities with our department,” Sheriff
John McMahon told the girls as they visited his office. “The trick is to stay
in school, graduate and be careful what you do on social media.”
Knea Hawley, Director of Fund Development & Alumnae Engagement
of the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, arranged the tour because she wants
the Girl Scouts to get more exposure to possible career paths in order to make
better informed decisions regarding their education and choices in life.
“My vision is exposure to many different career paths in the local
area, careers they may not know about or haven’t considered because they are
non-traditional female occupations,” Hawley said.
Women detectives from Homicide and Public Affairs addressed the
group and answered questions about promotion and the hiring process. Sgt. Dana
Foster, who heads the Crimes Against Children Division, also addressed the Girl
Scouts. As the highest-ranking woman the girls came in contact with,
Foster was asked some very poignant questions:
“Have you encountered any troubles as a woman in such a male-dominated field?” asked 16-year-old Michaelind Ragsdale of Hemet.
“As long as I have worked hard and done what I can to educate
myself, I haven’t had any problems,” Forster answered. “You can accomplish
whatever you set your mind to, as long as you work hard.”
Contrary to popular belief, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s
Department offers a number of opportunities for employment beyond becoming a
deputy sheriff. The girls were introduced to career opportunities in the
department such as crime analyst, high tech specialist, nurse, doctor,
dispatcher, crime scene specialist, financial analyst, media liaison, photographer,
web designer, computer programmer, community outreach coordinator, etc.
The girls eagerly asked several questions about education levels
required for particular positions on the Sheriff’s Department. They were
concerned about what to major in and what schools to attend for the best chance
at getting a job. And although a high school degree is the minimum requirement
to become a deputy sheriff, nearly every department official who addressed the
group encouraged a college education.
“If you look on my desk in my office you will see a big stack of
books because I am going to school to get my degree,” Foster said. “It is much
better to do it while you are young than to have to go back and accomplish it
Foster also warned the young women about potential predators on
social media and various applications readily available on smart phones and
tablets. The Crimes Against Children targets predators who use technology to
target children and victimize them.
The girls took advantage of their time with law enforcement officials
and even educated detectives on various cell phone applications that were
anecdotally known to watch users who interact with an animated cat through the
phone’s camera. Foster and her detectives took note and said they would look
The Sheriff’s Department treated the girls to lunch and members of
the executive staff came and ate with the Girl Scouts. The interactions
continued and the girls were able to see a side of law enforcement outside of a
critical incident, criminal act or tragedy. They laughed, joked and networked
while learning about hiring requirements and the importance of good
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department was the first tour in the
“Classroom to Career” summer curriculum. The Girl Scouts will also visit the
Rialto Fire Department, Macy’s, BNSF Railways and Fiesta Village as part of the
program. Girl Scout alumnae will coach each girl and help them develop a
portfolio for college applications and resumes.
“This type of program is very important and we are more than happy
to partner with the Girl Scouts to make it a reality,” McMahon said.
For more information contact:
Lolita Harper, Corporal
IMMEDIATE information please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org