Woman reflects on career change into law enforcement

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

If you’re looking for a career change, you might draw inspiration from this local correctional officer – a woman who dared to take on a new career in a male-dominated-field. Tami Rosser, 32, is one of 18 female correctional officers at the Pennington County Jail – compared to 78 men.

Rosser has been a correctional officer for 2 years. She left a 7-year career as a pharmacy technician for a new challenge. Rosser says her husband, who has a work history in law enforcement, inspired her to take the chance.

“I thought [my husband] was crazy, but I came in and did a tour,” says Rosser. “After I did the tour I applied.”

Correctional officers are responsible for the custody, safety, security and supervision of inmates. According to Rosser, vital skills for an officer to succeed include the ability to care for people and multi-task.

“You have to be able to multitask,” says Rosser. “You also have to get people where they need to go while watching your cell blocks to make sure everyone is safe.”

Rosser became confident in her field through training before she supervised a cell block on her own.

“I remember being in our classroom training, and they were talking about numbers,” says Rosser. “In some of the cell blocks, there are 60 inmates to one correctional officer. I just about had an anxiety attack.”

Rosser says counseling inmates is her main priority. As a mother, the nurturing aspect came easily and made the career change more fulfilling.

“One thing I like to talk to them about is their plan on doing when they get out of [jail],” says Rosser. “A lot of times, they get tunnel vision with the fact that they’re here.”

Rosser encourages everyone to never let their gender get in the way. They may end up right where they want to be.

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