- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) - Officer Misty Lee, a 20-year veteran of Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, made history Thursday afternoon when she became the first female captain in the history of the sheriff’s office.

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said when he was hired as a deputy about 30 years ago, there was maybe one female officer.

Dennis said he did not hesitate to consider Lee for captain when she was nominated for the position.

Lee’s promotion is well-earned and well-deserved, he said.

Lee, who originally planned to be a zoologist, solidified her desire to become an officer after a ride-along with a neighbor who was in law enforcement about 20 years ago.

“Once it’s in your blood, you can’t shake it,” she said.

Throughout her time at the sheriff’s office, Lee served as a narcotics investigator, a patrol officer and a patrol lieutenant.

As a lieutenant, Lee supervised about 10 patrol officers, but as captain, she is in charge of the entire patrol division, about 50 officers, along with several other sheriff’s office’s divisions.

As for her new duties, Lee said some things will be different, but she is looking forward to a more consistent schedule.

“My office has always been my vehicle,” she said, referencing her new administrative duties that will require more than just patrol work.

Lee said society has come a long way and thinks there are fewer male-dominated industries.

Being a female is not a limitation and women will advance in their careers if they work hard, she said.

“Get out there and prove yourself,” she said.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel but you can change the rims, Lee said after Maj. Allen Dailey pinned her new captain’s bars to her uniform.

“She goes over and beyond with everything she does,” said Necie Hatfield, Lee’s sister.

Hatfield said her sister is well-deserving of her history-making promotion.

Lt. James Dukes said Lee is a great person to work with and to work for.

“She’s good as gold,” he said.

Lee leads by example and would not ask her subordinates to do anything she would not do, he said.

Dennis wanted to ensure the community that Lee’s promotion was not politically motivated and is the result of the former lieutenant’s hard work. The Sumter community will be proud of the job she has done and the job she will do, he said.

___

Information from: The Sumter Item, https://www.theitem.com

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