SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In her 19 years with the Shreveport Fire Department Officer Janet Ward has carried many titles.
“Firefighter. Paramedic. Fire prevention,” said Ward.
And trailblazer to that list.
Recently she became the first female fire-arson investigator in the department’s history.
“Yeah, it is breaking a mold,” said Ward. “It’s very rewarding. I’ve had a lot of females to call me to say congratulations.”
But to become a fire investigator, she had to learn how to investigate.
It had the 1989 graduate of Green Oaks High School going through Shreveport’s Police Academy.
“16 week course in order to get the post certification,” said Ward.
It means she is a police officer too.
Her immediate supervisor with the fire department, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention Rodney Murray, knows Ward’s promotion is sparking a new era.
“I’m very proud of her,” said Murray. “It does open up some doors and open up some minds. And [many will] see that Janet does it, and did it, and they can say that, ‘Well I can do that too.'”
Ward experienced people having that very conversation first hand at a restaurant in Waskom, Texas.
“I was actually eating lunch this weekend and I heard some strangers talking,” said Ward. “I just happened to be at another table. But they were talking and said, ‘Hey, did you hear about that young lady, Janet Ward, with the Shreveport Fire Department. That’s the first female fire investigator. So I just kind of smiled and said, ‘That’s good.’ It’s good to hear something positive.”
Positive and inspiring.
“I hope that I’m a good example for them,” added Ward.
She is going to bomb technician school next. Murray says he’s all but certain Ward will be the first female from the department to ever graduate from that training program as well.