Newly hired women make mark in fire, sheriff’s departments | NevadaAppeal.com

Newly hired women make mark in fire, sheriff’s departments

Carson City firefighter paramedic Stephanie Lockhart joined the department in January.
Jim Grant | Nevada Appeal

Two women are making their mark in Carson City.

The Carson City Fire Department hired its first female firefighter/paramedic since 2005 and with women making up only 5 to 25 percent of first responders nationwide, it’s a big step for the department.

Stephanie Lockhart had just graduated from the University of Virginia when she was hired on by Carson in December.

The Sheriff’s Office also has recently hired Deputy Karlyn Jones, the sixth female deputy on staff.

“We are proud to have her and we are happy she took the job,” said Deputy Chief Tom Tarulli. “There were hundreds of applicants for Carson City, Douglas, Incline and North Tahoe and it is no secret that she was one of the best interviewers.”

The 23-year-old Virginian has been interested in paramedics since she was in high school. She worked with the Rescue Squad from high school through college, worked with the Ski Patrol and went to medic school, but it wasn’t until her senior year of college when she became interested in working with the fire department.

Tarulli said the others in the department already look out for Lockhart like she’s their sister. Lockhart joked she went from having no brothers to now having 50, and they have helped with her adjustment to the department.

“(I have loved the job) this is what I am here for, and this has been a great transition,” Lockhart said. “I have a supportive crew who really help me learn.”

Though the guys don’t treat her any differently, Lockhart does have to learn how to be able to use her body efficiently for things like ladder throwing or pulling hose, tasks that may be easier for men due to their upper body strength and mass.

“There is no difference (between myself and the men) in practice, I just have to learn different techniques to use my body to still be able to do the same tasks,” Lockhart said.

However, there are certain things that are easier for Lockhart to accomplish as a woman. She said she can more efficiently use her energy, can conserve more air and use less energy when carrying gear up the truck, tasks that may be more difficult for the men.

“There are positives and negatives you just have to figure out what works,” Lockhart said.

She said she also has received advice from the female firefighters from surrounding departments.

Lockhart works two days on, four days off and when she isn’t moving and settling into Nevada, she enjoys rock climbing, ski and snowboarding and any outdoor activity. She also likes to cook.

“Most of the time it doesn’t make a difference (that I am a female),” Lockhart said. “Everyone is my coworker whether they are male or female.”

Jones, a Spanish Springs native said she started her interest in law enforcement nearly four years ago as a way to try to repay her community.

“I was interested in giving back to my community,” Jones said. “I have always been really big into sports and I’ve been giving back to my community in that way, but I always wanted to do more. I wanted to be a positive role model for my community and give back.”

Jones is a Northern Nevada native — she grew up in Spanish Springs and graduated from University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s in criminal justice.

The 23-year-old was a softball superstar growing up, pitching for the University of Pittsburgh before transferring back to UNR to play. Jones was even set to play softball professionally overseas while she was in college. Now when Jones isn’t working she can most likely be found on a softball field, coaching her 10U Nevada Lightning competitive team.

She said she came to Carson to work because of the community both inside and outside the Sheriff’s Office.

“I liked the smaller community setting and I came down (to interview) and I got to meet a lot of the staff and the connection with the people and how the people interact with each other,” Jones said. “It is very family oriented. You can tell that it is close knit and it’s a good group of people and I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with them.”

For now, Jones is working in the detention center, going through the field training program, but she hopes one day to move up to the K9 division when she gets out onto patrol.

“I am flirting with the idea of K9,” Jones said. “But I will be in the jail for a while, then hopefully on patrol and onto possibly K9. I have a really big love for dogs so I think it will be a good partner for me.”

In the detention center, Jones is one of three females on staff, but working in a male dominated setting isn’t bothersome for her.

“(It’s) not (intimidating) for me,” Jones said. “I’ve grown up my whole life with a lot of guy friends and a lot of the other jobs I have worked at have pretty much been a male setting but it’s not too intimidating.”

For Jones, being in law enforcement is her career choice.

“(The job is) a lot, it’s busy but it’s fun.” Jones said. “It keeps you on your toes, it is something different everyday and it isn’t the same monotonous routine; it’s always something different. It has been busy and the work load is a lot, but it’s exciting.

“I would love to stay in law enforcement until I possibly retire,” Jones added. “The job obviously has its precautions, but I would love to stay as long as possible and do as much as I can with it. There are so many different departments that I could look into, go into. I definitely think it is a good place to be with lots of opportunities.”