RANDOLPH COUNTY — For the first time in its history, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office has a female on its Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team. Deputy Traci Baker underwent a series of physical and mental tests designed to determine one’s ability to be placed in critical situations, including high-risk search warrants, barricaded subjects, or any instance requiring a tactical response.

Team members of SERT are expected to be able to perform efficiently in a variety of high risk and high stress situations with little or no notice. This team challenges all its members to attend advanced law enforcement training courses and to become proficient with necessary special equipment to complete the job at hand. SERT is a life-saving unit of highly trained officers who deal with the most dangerous criminals and situations; therefore, it has the toughest standards and performance requirements

Baker completed BLET training in spring 2009 and began with RCSO at the Detention Center in July 2009. She transferred to School Based Programs as a CARE Instructor in September of 2009 and then to Evidence in August of 2016. Baker was then promoted to Detective in November 2018 and in January of 2019 she transferred back to School Based Programs as a CARE Instructor. Baker is also the current Junior Sheriff’s Academy Director.

Baker became RCSO’s first female firearms instructor in 2017. She now teaches aspiring law enforcement recruits as the Lead Firearms Instructor for Randolph Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training.

In October 2020, Baker competed for an open position on SERT and excelled in physical fitness testing, as well as the firearms marksmanship. Following the initial testing, current members voted to offer Baker a position on the specialized team. From October 2020 to May 2021, Baker worked as a probationary member. On May 6 Baker completed her mandatory probationary period and became a permanent SERT Operator.

Baker sees the SERT training as a perfect fit for her because day-to-day she works in a school setting teaching the CARE program to second-grade students. CARE was founded in Randolph County in 1992 and stands for Child Abuse Reduction Effort. With all the training required for SERT operators, she will be even more prepared to respond to any potential situation in a school requiring a tactical response.

When asked how it feels to be the first female SERT Operator, Baker said, “I honestly don’t even think about it because I’m not treated any differently as a female. I wanted to challenge myself and become part of this team.”

“While she doesn’t think being a female on the Emergency Response Team makes her any different or special, Deputy Baker is glad to serve as motivation for other women in law enforcement,” said Lt. Eric Wilson, Team Commander. “Deputy Baker has quickly become a valued asset to the team. Her dedication to duty, willingness to volunteer, and her continual commendable service is in good keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement and reflect great credit upon herself, the Emergency Response Team, and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.”

“I am incredibly proud of Deputy Baker for her perseverance, dedication and motivation to achieve this monumental goal,” said Sheriff Greg Seabolt. “I am honored to be the sheriff who has the privilege of seeing her make history as the first female SERT operator and set exemplary standards for other female law enforcement officers.”