Wagoner Police Department's First Woman Officer Retires
WAGONER, Oklahoma - The Wagoner Police Department has only hired three women as officers in its history.
And the first of them is retiring.
Paulette Caskey was the first woman ever to join the Wagoner Police Department. She says breaking that barrier was tough at times, but there was never a point where she felt like it wasn't worth it.
Caskey raised her two daughters waiting tables, but in the early '90s, she decided she wanted more.
"Asked the Lord into my life, this is where he put me. This is where I've been ever since," Caskey says.
But it wasn't common for women to be police officers in the rural area.
"When I put in applications other places... I said, well, what did they say? And he said, well, when I handed it to them, they said, this is a girl! And he said, yeah, she is," Caskey says.
But in 1995, WPD decided it was time to hire a woman onto the force for the first time.
Earning the trust of her colleagues took time, but she says now they're her family.
"When they finally trusted me that, yeah, she can do this. And they have been awesome. You couldn't ask for better people," Caskey says.
Caskey says it's the little moments that remind her why the job is worth it.
Like just recently, she says a woman from her past approached her, to say thank you.
"Said, I'm so-and-so, and you changed my life. That just... ya know. She said, 'And I said, if I ever saw you again, I said I'd give you a hug.' So she gave me a hug," Caskey says.
"That makes it all worthwhile," she says. "There's been a lot of times trust me that I though, uh uh, I'm not doing this anymore. But then something like that'll happen and you'll think, it's worth it."
Paulette says she has one more case to finish before she walks out that door for the last time, but she says the officers she leaves behind will always be her boys.