Winter Haven, Florida - These days, the world of law enforcement is ever changing. More and more women are looking to get a shot at being on the front lines. Some are trying to level the playing field between them and the bad guys by learning the ultimate survival skills that make them hard to kill.
They're women with badges who pack heat on the job. They know their lives can be on the line in the drop of a shell casing, when there's nothing but a bullet between them and the bad guys.
On this day, though, Polk County Sheriff's Office serves as the host for a "Building Warrior Women" specialized training event. Some of the women are the first in their department to make their SWAT teams.
So many women are so eager to sign up for the classes that they come from across the Tampa Bayarea and the nation with one goal in mind -- to learn lifesaving skills.
Christina Demas is a deputy with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. She said, "It's training that we don't get on a normal basis."
Building Warrior Women is the brainchild of Lou Ann Hamblin of LouKa Tactical Training. She's a former cop who spent more than two decades on the job. She said, "They're basically getting the lesson when the other officer had to take the test."
One test they're trying to get prepared for is the scenario taught in one of the classes on how to safely rescue an officer down. It's a test that was all too real for one Bay area cop.
It was pitch black in September 2011 when a female Auburndale police officer was shot three times in a hail of gunfire. She can be heard on 911 tapes saying, "I need EMS bad. I'm shot in the arm, in the abdomen."
She'd been shot with bullets from just one of several assault weapons Michael Wayne Lester pulled out. Lester fired from the other side of his front door.
After eight surgeries, Stacy Booth is the ultimate survivor. She's married now and her new last name is West. She shared her horrific ordeal and lessons learned during the Building Women Warrior training.
Stacy said,"I'm very blessed to be alive and have all my limbs. A second chance."
She's no longer able to work as a cop but she's found other ways to try to help people in their time of emergency.
Ironically, she now works as a 911 dispatcher. But she also continues to share her story with law enforcement in hopes it makes a difference.
Deputy Demas has spent the past 16 years in the dangerous field of tracking down people with warrants to haul them off to jail. She said she was moved by Stacy's words during the training. Demas said, "It's nothing like the books. You can't teach this."
It's a lesson the women hope they'll never be faced with but one they'll also never forget.
Ladies in law enforcement are so interested in learning from people like Stacy and getting the one of a kind hands-on training that the Warrior Women classes fill up fast. They're held across the country each year, over a period of four days, with a team of instructors. Some of the teachers are local to the area where the classes are held. The class costs $450.
Meanwhile, the man who shot Stacy, Michael Lester, will be behind bars for at least 25 years. He was charged with attempted 1st degree murder of a law enforcement officer. He accepted a plea deal.