ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department has added more females to its rank.

Sheriff Gary Caruana said that the department is more diverse than it has been in years.

“I think for such a long time it was such a male dominated profession, that maybe females were scared to do the job,” said Deputy Nicole Lee.

Lee has been with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department for three years.

“I grew up in the community, so it’s actually a nice place to live and work,” Lee said. “It became interesting to me, see what went on in the community that I lived in, that just living your life working another job you don’t get to see.”

Four out of the five new deputies that the department has hired recently have been women. It is a trend that Lee said can help them better serve the community.

“As a female, I think we have a little bit easier time communicating with people, maybe relating to people on a different level than what men can, not say that men are bad at that, but I think there’s a compassionate level that women have that sometimes serves us a little bit better with dealing with the community,” Lee said.

“We’re always searching for that right candidate and we’d really like to have that depth of minority,” Caruana added.

Caruana hopes that the momentum of more women in the field keeps growing in the department.

“I’m just thrilled when we swore them in, we had the four females at one time, and right along we’ve been pretty diverse,” Caruana said.

More minorities are rising through the ranks and making history, like Deputy Chief Tammie Stanley.

“We’ve been pretty aggressive over the past, since I’ve been here, seven, seven-and-a-half years. We’ve promoted minorities or females to patrol from the jail to sergeants,” Caruana said. “This is as diverse as the department’s ever been, ever in the history of the Sheriff’s Department, so I’m very thrilled about that.”