Carter “holds her own”

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Many should be able to recall the iconic “We can do it” posters from the 1940s, which showcased a bandana-clad Rosie the Riveter bearing her bicep.

The idea behind the flyer was radical-women were being encouraged to hold jobs once dominated by men.

Though the campaign got the message out, women would continue to fight for respect and equal footing in male-dominated jobs, a struggle Deputy Pearl Carter, 37, knows well.

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Carter works as a deputy for Butler County Sheriff’s Department.

The fact that all her fellow deputies are male has not been lost on Carter. She insists she is no different than her male counterparts.

“I work just as hard as the guys,” Carter said.

Though women like Carter have worked their way into historically male positions, her response shows that the fight for equal rights is still being waged. Even though Carter feels she does her job well, she knows some misogynists may ask: Does she do as good of a job as a man would?

Sheriff Kenny Harden says she does. They have worked together almost four years, since he was first elected sheriff in January of 2007.

“She has proven herself as well as any other deputy in the department,” Harden said. “There has never been anything she couldn’t handle because she was a female.”

Harden said although the sheriff’s deputies work together, Carter needs no special protection.

“I have had warrants out on people that I told Carter she should go with another officer to serve,” Harden said. “She ends up going by herself.”

Carter said being a female law enforcement officer has its own challenge.

“They don’t always take me serious,” Carter said. “I don’t get the respect men get.”

Respect, however, isn’t what Carter seeks. She grew up in the projects in Butler County, where she began noticing all the crime around her.

“I wanted to make a difference,” Carter said.

After attending the Jefferson County Sheriff Academy, this dream has become a reality. Her job now carries her back to some of the same projects she grew up in.

“I have to arrest some of the same people I knew growing up,” Carter said. “Some look at me like I owe them some sort of favor, but I look at it like I have to do my job.”

Carter said she refuses to play favorites.

“I just try to be fair, firm and consistent,” Carter said.

Harden said Carter holds her own just like every other deputy.

“They all work together, but she doesn’t need them,” Harden said. “She looks after them as much as they look after her.”