On her first full day as a Collier County Sheriff’s Office captain Wednesday, Beth Richards’ phone rang steadily with calls from colleagues congratulating her for “breaking the glass.”
Those good wishes were referring to the proverbial glass ceiling. Captain Richards is the first female certified officer in CCSO history to attain that rank.
Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk made the appointment Tuesday afternoon.
A 23-year veteran of the agency, Captain Richards most recently served as commander of CCSO’s Professional Standards Division, which oversees internal affairs, training and accreditation.
In her new position she will oversee the Naples Jail Center, the Immokalee Jail Center and the agency’s Bailiff Bureau. She said her leadership style has always been to demand professionalism and accountability from those who fall under her command.
While CCSO has had civilian females in the upper rank of director and chief, Richards is the first female certified officer to do so. As the agency’s first female captain, she looks forward to serving as an example of what female deputies can accomplish.
“When I was coming up through the ranks I didn’t have a certified female mentor I could look up to,” she said. “I look forward to fulfilling that role for others.”
Sheriff Rambosk said Captain Richards will be a good fit for the position.
“Captain Richards brings to this position a background rich in education and professional experience,” said Sheriff Rambosk. “Her hard work and leadership capabilities make her a perfect fit for this position.”
She earned a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Hodges University. She also has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Hodges and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Edison State College. In addition, she is a graduate of the Command Officer Development Course at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
She grew up in Immokalee and began her career with CCSO as a corrections deputy in 1987. She was promoted to corrections supervisor in 1990 and remained there until being reassigned in 1996 to serve as a sergeant in the Training Division. In 2000 she was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the Policy Compliance Bureau. She remained in that position until 2007 when she was named commander of the Professional Responsibility and Training Division. Since 2009 she has been commander of the Professional Standards Division.
Many in the community also know Captain Richards as the owner of Cowboy, CCSO’s miniature quarter horse mascot.
Captain Richards’ promotion was part of a reorganization following a voluntary separation option. In all, 26 CCSO members, including Richards’ predecessor, Captain Joe Bastys, retired from the agency. The remaining organizational changes were accomplished without promotions by consolidating, collapsing and distributing functions throughout the CCSO command staff.