Breaking New Ground

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PRINCE EDWARD -County Sheriff Wesley Reed has announced a first for Prince Edward County: the first female road deputy.

Sheriff Reed noted that he saw a need “because of all the transports that we have to deal with” that are female.

He added, “Not only that, I'm one that I'm not prejudiced in any form. Just…if I feel you can do the job then I believe in giving you a chance. And women in law enforcement do well…if you choose the right one, they'll do well. And I feel that she'll do a good job for us.”

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Deputy Cindy Eldridge has background in corrections and worked at the ICA for the past year and a half. Sheriff Reed described her as “sharp,” and noted that she's already jail certified.

“A little bit,” Deputy Eldridge said, when asked if it feels special, “sometimes,” she adds with a laugh.

Deputy Eldridge graduated from the police academy in Lynchburg.

Born and raised in the Farmville area, she says the experience so far is much as she thought it would be. She didn't know she was the first female road deputy until she was hired on February 16.

“It was a big surprise. I thought the other females were road deputies too, but they're court officers and civil service,” Deputy Eldridge said.

Once she finishes her school, she will respond to calls and provide assistance wherever assistance is needed-serving as any other deputy.

“It's a good experience. It's always something new-you're learning something new. It's never the same…It's never a dull moment, actually. I haven't had one yet,” Deputy Eldridge said.

She says she feels like she's been welcomed aboard and hasn't been treated any differently.

Sheriff Reed explained his hiring process: if he gets 30 applicants, he has a team of three officers conduct the screening, ask them to bring to him the top four or five of the best applicants. The team meets with the sheriff and discuss it, they grade the applicants as they do interviews, and Reed noted that whoever “we choose” that would fill the slot better, they bring them in for a second interview and go from there.

Department supervisors, Sheriff Reed detailed, are going to have to work with those who are hired and, he noted, they need to have input on who is hired.

“I just don't believe in the buddy-buddy plan,” he said.