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Two women make history at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

Two women have made history by becoming the first to be part of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office’s Correction Emergency Response Team.

The emergency response team is trained to protect inmates at the jail from each other and themselves.

The response team is hard to get on. In fact, 97% of people who try to make the team don’t do it on the first try.

But both Paige Butzer and Jacelyn Litman defied the odds.

“I proved them wrong,” said Butzer, an operator with the Corrections Emergency Response Team.

Litman, also an operator, said she trained all her life for this opportunity.

Their next goal? To be the first on the agency’s SWAT team.

“Our goal was just to get on the team,” Butzer said. “It wasn’t about being the first female.”

Lt. William Garlick, the leader of the team, said other women have tried out in the past but they physically couldn’t get it done.

Applicants go through a fast-paced, intense tryout process. Garlick sad 97% of applicants don’t make it past the first round.

“We’d be responsible for doing cell extractions, things of that nature,” Garlick said. “We also do high-risk transports, not only within a facility but out to court.”

“We’re dealing with some of the worst inmates in the state,” he added.

The toughest task isn’t physical.

“Sometimes, people view you as weak when you’re a female. So we have to set the standard a little bit higher, we have to push ourselves harder,” Butzer said.

The deputies have a message for other young women.

“I would just say never give up,” Litman said. “If you want something, go get it.”