Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has had one of the state’s top SWAT Teams for the past 46 years. Chief Deputy Willie Hill was one of the original members of that first team back in 1974. Over the years, a lot has changed. It is still one of the toughest assignments to achieve and its members are the cream of the crop. However, over the past 46 years, there have only been 4 females who have been able to reach the coveted position as a SWAT Team Member.
The first was retired Lt. Venita Edge. She broke down that wall for other women to follow. She was an outstanding example for other law enforcement officers, both male and female. Now, there has been a new standard set by two of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s newest SWAT Team Members. Deputy Deanna Marshall, who is well known for her role on the A & E show “Live PD”, has been the lone female on the team for almost 4 years. Now, she has been joined by another ‘sister of the badge’. Deputy Deborah Jean Tipton has become the next on a short list of elite women to become a member of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT Team.
Tipton, who is currently assigned to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office training academy, has been a JCSO Deputy for almost 7 years. She and Marshall will mark the first time there has been more than one female on the team at the same time.
The duo was able to successfully meet the not only physically challenging requirements to become a SWAT Team member, but requirements that are as equally mentally and tactically demanding. Not many women are willing to tackle this goal and even fewer are capable of making this male-dominated, elite squad.
Sheriff Mark Pettway has placed a focus on the encouragement of women to achieve goals that may have been out of reach in the past. In January, Sheriff Pettway promoted the first female in the department’s history to Deputy Chief. Earlier this year, he promoted eight additional women in the department to law enforcement supervisory positions. Sheriff Pettway hopes that these recent advancements of females in the department will encourage others to pursue positions of excellence and supervision.