By Corey Poole
When she was 15-years-old Carey Hamblin decided to become a police officer. Her brother became one first with the Alexandria Police Department. He was killed in the line of duty when Carey was 19-years-old. This was about the time Carey was old enough to start her own training.
After his death Carey put her dreams on hold for her family’s sake. She got married shortly after and had a daughter. She worked for a while as a dispatcher at the Leesville Police Department while she was pregnant. The idea was that it would jumpstart her career and she’d get into patrol.
Things didn’t work out and after a divorce, Carey moved home to Natchitoches Parish. After getting remarried and having her third child she decided to be a stay at home mom. During this time she earned a degree in accounting.
“As I’ve gotten older my dream of a career in law enforcement keeps coming back,” said Carey. “Through my life my mom has always warned me about impulse buying. If you’re questioning if you should buy something leave it at the store and if it’s still there when you come back it’s supposed to be yours. I’ve been leaving a career in law enforcement “at the store” for all these years.”
Carey quit her job in February, 2019 to pursue a career in law enforcement. Carey’s husband offered his support so she could dedicate 100% to pursuing her dream. She started applying in January as far out as Alexandria and kept getting turned down. According to Carey, the law enforcement community wanted to protect her parents, who have been hurt enough by her brother’s death.
“No one understands the dangers more than me and I’m willing to face that,” she said. Her mother supported her and pushed her to do it because she knows it’s what Carey wants to do.
“I am so proud of her and I am excited for her to live her dream,” said Carey’s mother Patricia Carruth. “She has worked hard and I know she will train hard. I feel she has a Gift of Service and a Desire To Protect, covered with an Understanding of Sacrifice.”
Captain at the Ringgold Police Department and Chief of Police for the Village of Natchez Michael Gillie saw how hard Carey was working and recommended her to his boss.
“I believe that things happen at certain times for certain people for certain reasons,” he said. “Carey has wanted to be in law enforcement for too long to be denied. Life is full of opportunities and I’m glad she’s gotten a chance to be successful and do what she loves to do.”
Gillie will be Carey’s FTO (field training officer) and partner at the Ringgold Police Department. Carey was given a badge with the number 9 on it. She did a bit of research and this is the number of fulfillment, wisdom, and enlightenment. It’s connected to one’s higher purpose and life mission.
“It gave me chill bumps,” said Carey. “It’s been 21 years since I decided that this is what I want to do and it’s just now coming to fruition for me. I have to believe there’s a reason for that. Maybe now is the time I can really appreciate it.”
To make the moment even more special, Patricia presented Carey with her brother’s duty rig.
“I’m going to use it until I can get my own,” said Carey. “When my mom handed it to me she told me to take care of it. It’s been a struggle to get to this point. I’ve been commissioned but I’m still training. Police Academy will come later.”
Carey’s brother Jeremy “Jay” Carruth has two daughters Noelle and Margaux, now 19 and 24, and one has expressed an interest in going into law enforcement. They were 2 and 7 when he was killed. Carey said she wants them to start their career with their father’s duty rig.
A lot of family members of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty keep memorabilia locked away forever, and never even look at it again. Some think of these items as bad luck charms. Some just can’t handle the emotions. However these items mean so much to other family members. Carey’s niece has lots of friends that are surviving children of officers that are now adults and have NEVER received anything from their parents belongings. Sure they get life insurance payments and such, but many would prefer items they used at work or in daily life.
“If it means this much to me I can’t imagine what it would feel like for them to put that belt on,” said Carey. “It would feel like a hug from their dad.”
Carey’s mother has been volunteering with Louisiana Concerns of Police Survivors since Jay died.
“We’ve seen the families and sometimes they’re already in law enforcement or they try to get it,” said Carey. “The people who have the hardest time getting in is siblings. I think everyone deserves a chance and an opportunity. I think my mom would be more upset if I was killed in an auto accident and never got the chance to be in law enforcement. I’ve wanted this so bad for so long. I feel like I’m in the right place. It feels right. I’ve had many jobs in different fields and nothing has ever filled that empty spot.”
Carey’s ultimate goal is to work for the Louisiana State Police.