Denise Hughes and Vinetta Briscoe broke new ground in the police departments they served. Both women recently retired. Hughes was a 32 ½ year veteran with Lake Charles Police, while Briscoe served with Sulphur Police for 28 years. Both started as radio dispatchers, but eventually moved into patrol, where the majority of officers were men.
"I went on calls where they would say I would like a male officer," recalled Hughes. "I don't want you here. You would get tested quite a bit. That was just a natural inclination."
"You go out on certain calls and men would think because you were a female that you could not handle them," said Briscoe. "It was a big difference. You had to try it one way or another way. But then you sometimes had to get completely physical. I was raised with three brothers."
Both women moved from street patrol into detective work and other administrative positions.
"It's about a work ethic," said Hughes. "It was about striving to be better than anyone else. I worked hard. I loved what I did, so I stayed and I wanted to be the best."
"There's still a problem with it," said Briscoe. "I find it women have to take an extra step, do something extra to prove that they are capable of doing it."
For their longtime police work in Lake Charles and Sulphur, we're making Denise Hughes and Vinetta Briscoe this week's Hometown Patriots.