Keizer University Tallahassee student inspires young women as Gadsden County’s first female SWAT team member

Stephanie Brown, a Keizer University student, has had a goal for her future since she was a child.

This goal is to make a difference in their community and keep people safe.

“Ever since I was younger I always wanted to be a homicide detective. I’ve always had this passion for law enforcement,” Brown said. “I enjoy helping people. I’ve always felt that if I can change someone’s life, then I’ve done something in life, I’ve accomplished something.

Brown began her law enforcement career at age 19, working in corrections in her hometown of Gadsden County. After attending Law Enforcement Academy, Brown was hired by the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, where she has worked for the past four years.

“My main job is a bailiff. I am responsible for the safety of the judges and court staff,” Brown said. “I’ve worked on patrol, I’ve had the opportunity to do school resources, I’ve had the opportunity to assist in the criminal investigation department, and I’ve helped out at our communications center, which is our dispatch center.”

While training for a variety of departments within the agency has allowed her to become a versatile deputy, Brown says one opportunity has also allowed her to set an example for the future generation of female law enforcement officers.

She is the first woman on the Gadsden County SWAT team.

It’s just something I wanted to do, I pursued it and achieved my goal. It’s a huge achievement for me,” Brown said. “When we think of law enforcement, we think of a male-dominated career, but women can do the same things as men. It’s just rewarding to be able to offer the younger generation, especially younger women, something to look forward to. Maybe when they see me they’ll say: Well, she did it, I can do it. Everything is possible, I don’t have to limit myself.”

Breaking the boundaries of her own limitations, Brown is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program at Keizer University Tallahassee. She says she chose Keizer because of the flexible schedule, which allows her to continue working for the sheriff’s office.

The Gadsden County MP is also a recipient of the EASE (Effective Access to Student Education) grant. The $2,000 scholarship is awarded to eligible Florida residents attending a private college or university. Brown says the money helps her pursue her dream of graduating and allows her to focus on her schoolwork instead of her finances.

“It relieves the stress of the financial burden that you have,” Brown said. “Everything helps.”

One Brown earns her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, she plans to continue working in law enforcement and eventually work her way up to homicide detective.

However, her ultimate goal is to keep working to make her community a better place and launch new community-based programs to improve the lives of Gadsden County residents.

“I really just want to be able to help my community think of ways I can improve my community,” Brown said. “[This degree] allows you to advance and have opportunities that you may not have if you don’t have a degree.

Keizer University is a private, independent, not-for-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students in 21 Florida, online and two international campuses. Co-founded by Chancellor Arthur Keizer, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keizer in 1977, Keizer University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associate to doctoral degrees. Keizer University is a designated Hispanic-serving institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked #1 in the United States for providing social mobility by US News and World Report in 2023.