My aunt was a police officer for the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t know it then, but she was a trailblazer: a proud woman in a job historically carried out by men. There have been many brave women in law enforcement who have paved the way toward progress, and we are still moving forward.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office employs many women who have dedicated their lives to making a significant impact both on and off duty. I am proud of these women and the countless contributions they make to our communities every day.
As we celebrate National Women’s History Month, I’d like to introduce just a few of the women who serve within BSO.
Colonel Nichole Anderson is a woman of many firsts. The Fort Lauderdale native graduated from Dillard High School in the top 10 percent of her class and has been a fixture in our community ever since. She joined BSO in 1996 and rose through the ranks. In 2011, she became the first African-American female district chief. In 2018, she became the first female BSO law enforcement deputy to attend and graduate from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia – graduating from the 274th session. In January 2019, I had the distinct pleasure of promoting her as the agency’s first-ever female colonel and, most recently, she was promoted to serve as the undersheriff, which marks the first time a female has held this position in the agency’s 105-year history. Colonel Anderson’s commitment to selfless service and integrity allowed her to succeed in what was traditionally a male-dominated profession. It’s an honor to have her serve as second in command.
It’s also an honor to work with individuals such as Deputy Kelli Covet. Along with her trusted canine partner, Macie, the dynamic duo have dedicated countless hours to search for and locate missing and endangered people, including children and the elderly. Aside from being a certified bloodhound, in June 2019, K9 Macie became the agency’s first-ever certified therapy dog. The work Deputy Covet and K9 Macie do each and every day makes a significant difference in the lives of people throughout the community. Aside from their daily first-responder duties, they regularly attend countywide events to build lasting connections with the community and assist people who may be experiencing crisis, tragedy, trauma or who are having a difficult time in life.
Detention Deputy Judie Nance is a woman with a variety of hidden talents. Her daily responsibilities are to provide for the care, custody, and control of inmates in our jail system; however, in her spare time, she is an author. Her first children’s book, “Short and Virtuous Bed-time Stories for Children,” helps parents introduce children to the essentials of good moral character: responsibility, courage, honesty, perseverance, faith, and friendship. Her second book, “Enlightened,” teaches young girls to stand up for what is right. Both in and outside of work, Deputy Nance demonstrates compassion and commitment for all that she does.
Fire Prevention Officer (FPO) Cindy Taffel is the epitome of determination and perseverance. She loves her job, but she also loves to express herself through food. A three-time cancer survivor, Cindy understands that life is too short not to do what you love. She not only loves cooking but is an award-winning prodigy. With no formal training, Cindy took home the World Food Championship in seafood and later won the $15,000 prize on the Food Network show Cooks vs. Cons, where she beat out a formally-trained chef. FPO Taffel is an inspiration to us all.
Claudine Carter Pereira, the director of the BSO Crime Lab, proves you can be and do anything you want if you put your mind to it. The 21-year year BSO veteran leads an internationally-accredited crime lab that processes approximately 25,000 cases each year. But she’s known to her co-workers as the “Forensic Ballerina.” A former professional dancer with both a ballet and modern contemporary company, Director Pereira studied at the premier Joffrey Ballet in New York City. When’s she’s not helping solve cases or dancing on her own, she serves as a dance instructor to local children and adults.
As you can see, BSO is comprised of some very unique, talented women. I want to thank all the women of BSO for their service and dedication to keeping our communities safe. Their special talents both in and outside of work are truly commendable. We all owe a debt of gratitude for everything they do.
Service Equals Reward,
Sheriff Gregory Tony