It's a man's world, or is it? Parish-wide more women enter male-dominated fields

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POSTED: Friday, August 3, 2012 - 5:17pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 6, 2012 - 7:56am

A recent expansion of investigators at the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's office has also meant adding some new female employees to the investigation division. For the first time in parish history not one, but three women are entering in to the field and playing an essential role in the investigation portion of this department. Coroner Beau Clark says having a mixed team helps to better serve the families they come in to contact with.

“This isn't an issue of whether a man can do a job better, or a woman can do a job better, it's an issue of perspective. What we deal with in the community is often times very traumatic,” Beau Clark, EBR Coroner, explained.

That perspective comes in handy when dealing with each individual case, finding the best fit to show compassion to the family that's left after a sudden death.

"I've had a few cases of children or babies that have passed and I find it that the mothers, find it comforting to speak to me. Or maybe I can relate a little bit being a mother myself," Nicole Compton, investigator in the department, said.

"That perspective that's brought by a male and a female investigator could be very important for the family," Clark added.

Investigator Nicole Compton worked for fifteen years in the sheriff's office, only recently making the switch to the coroner's office. Parish-wide she has seen an increase in women breaking into traditionally male-dominated fields, and she says she'd love to see more of it.

“We can do it. And I invite everybody to come on, and we can do it, and we can make a difference,” Compton added.

But the coroner’s office isn’t the only parish department seeing an influx of interested women. This year's entering class of BRPD officers is also making history, with the most women ever hoping to graduate. Chief DeWayne White says the six ladies in the class account for the highest number of women ever to enter the class. And those six weren't the only ones interested, many more women also applied but weren't chosen for the program.

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