Kersten Fowler may be the youngest deputy with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, and admittedly the smallest deputy, but don't think that she is unable to do her job.Fowler, 21, says that she is …
Kersten Fowler may be the youngest deputy with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, and admittedly the smallest deputy, but don't think that she is unable to do her job.
Fowler, 21, says that she is "5-foot-2 ... 5-foot-nothing, pretty much." The 2015 Cleveland High School graduate does not let her size keep her from doing her job.
"When my mother got married, my stepfather worked for Olin in Augusta, Ga., and we moved here when he got moved to the Charleston location," she said. "I've been here about 7 1/2 years."
She got interested in law enforcement after hearing stories about the career from family.
"My dad's dad was a deputy and a pastor before he died, and all of his stories kind of got me interested in it," she said. "Then, about five years ago, one of our family friends who is a prosecutor in Georgia got me a chance to do a ride-along (with law enforcement) in Georgia with one of their highly decorated officers."
She said the experience veered her career aspirations toward law enforcement.
"I started taking criminal justice classes in high school and got the opportunity to become a cadet, and once I became a cadet, I knew exactly what I wanted to do," Fowler said. "I knew what it was going to take, how long it was going to take, the effort, and pushed as hard as I could. I challenged myself daily."
Fowler graduated from the cadet program as the captain, and was promoted to a reserve officer spot with the BCSO three days before she started the police academy at Cleveland State Community College.
"Then, about two months after I graduated the academy, I got a call that I got hired on as a deputy here full time," she said.
The cadet program, called the "Explorer" program by many, is similar to the Junior ROTC program for those looking at careers in the armed forces. She went to CSCC for the police academy.
"It gives you the experience of what you might encounter out on the road," she said. "It gives you that experience so you are sure this is what you want to do."
Some of her abilities as a deputy were not gained just through what she learned at the academy.
"I am good at talking to people, at getting down to their level," she said. "I am told that I have a very bubbly personality, but when I make an arrest, I have to be an authoritative figure."
Fowler said that while she enjoys working the roads, especially the overnight shift, she hopes to look at a different area of law enforcement someday.
"I have always been fascinated with narcotics [enforcement], so hopefully, I will work my way up to being involved in law enforcement in the field of narcotics," Fowler said.
Right now, she enjoys being a patrol deputy. However, she does find time to spend away from her job, and has other activities she loves.
"When I am not at work, I am up in the mountains, and I try to spend as much time with my family as I can. Otherwise, I am probably in the gym," Fowler said. She enjoys spending time with her twin sister, who has Down syndrome.
"In fact, if I wasn't in law enforcement, I would probably be in the field of helping those with special needs," Fowler said, though she noted that her sister is "high functioning. She will graduate from high school this May, and is very excited."
Law enforcement, or similar work in that field, is something she said she will be involved in for years.
"I didn't pick this career, this career picked me. I was called to do this," Fowler said.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE