Two women in the Arlington Sheriff's Department were promoted last week from sergeant to lieutenant, the highest position attained by women in the department.
Daisy Lee, 32, was named assistant director of corrections for treatment, and Karen Albert, 26, was named a training officer. Lee will manage all programs for the more than 200 inmates in the county's jail and Albert will supervise all training of the department's approximately 100 officers.
"I think it's exciting," said Arlington Sheriff James A. Gondles, who admitted that law enforcement agencies have been among the last of traditionally all-male institutions to open up to women.
Lee joined the sheriff's office as a full-time employe in 1979. Two years later, she became the first black female to hold a management- level position in the department when she was promoted to correctional supervisor in the jail, with the rank of sergeant. She has spent all her time in the department working directly with inmates.
Lee, who grew up in Arlington and graduated from Wakefield High School in 1971, spent seven years after high school working as a social worker and counselor at Arlington's Martin Luther King Center. "I'm just interested in helping people," she said.
Lee said she always has felt comfortable working with prisoners and wants in her new job to make the jail a "better place for inmates."
Albert joined the sheriff's office in 1980 after graduating with a degree in correctional services from East Carolina University. In addition to working with inmates as a correctional supervisor and a classification officer (deciding what type of security inmates should be placed in as well as doing counseling), Albert helped write and organize the department's manual for policy and procedure, which will be published this year.
"I enjoy paper work," she said.
Albert, who grew up in Arlington and graduated from Yorktown High School in 1976, said she has "all sorts of ideas" as the department's new training officer. "I want to improve on the training," she said. "I would like to have every deputy specialized."
Both women say they have enjoyed their work so far and are prepared to work even harder in the future.
What else do they have in common?
"I've never seen Karen or Daisy ever lose their temper," Sheriff Gondles said. "And I say that with a lot of envy."