MOULTRIE, Ga. — The stereotype says few little girls dream of being a sheriff’s deputy when they grow up, but for Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Kat Johnson, there aren’t many other career options she would’ve chosen.
Growing up in Blakley, Ga., she is the third generation of law enforcement in her family. Her grandfather retired from the Albany Police Department and her father retired from the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office.
After graduating high school in 1999, she joined the U.S. Army as a military police officer where she earned the rank of sergeant before being honorably discharged in 2005.
“I started my civilian law enforcement career with the Mitchell County Sheriff’s. My dad and I were actually deputies at the same time,” said Johnson in an interview.
When Johnson began her career she started working in the Mitchell County Jail as a jailer before moving up to dispatch then finally attending the police academy and joining the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office.
When she came to Colquitt County, she began to work as a school resource officer at Colquitt County High School. She said that working with the kids at the school was “one of the most rewarding experiences” in her life.
“Seeing the kids grow and succeed is one of the best parts. They become your kids and you care for them like you do your own,” Johnson said.
Throughout her time as the school resource officer, she also participated in the honor guard, which is made of Moultrie Police Department, CCSO, and Berlin Police Department personnel, and in the S.W.A.T. team, which comprises both MPD and CCSO personnel.
Shortly after being assigned to Criminal Investigations in 2018, she quickly found that the department works well together as a team.
“We each bring a particular skill set to every investigation. No matter who actually gets the call for the case, we all know that we can ask for help and work together,” said Johnson.
Investigators typically work felony cases, which brings them in contact with many people who have been victimized and might need someone to talk to. That’s where Johnson sees her skill set come into play most often.
“I think being able to communicate with people is something I do strongly,” Johnson said. “There’s many times where you have to speak with some of the worst people and then there’s times you get to speak with some of the most heartening people. There’s also victims who are dealing with many things and sometimes having a woman being able to speak with another woman is much easier than talking with a man. I just try to understand people.”
Johnson says that there is no set way of handling a case. Cases are assigned to the investigator that is on-call that day. Johnson handles felony cases such as sex crimes, assaults and even gang activity.
“Every case is different. When you first start working they give you on-the-job training along with all the classes you get. There are things you just have to learn throughout your time in law enforcement. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great supervisors though,” said Johnson.
She says that community involvement and service is still some of the best parts of the job. With two weeks left until Christmas of last year, Johnson and others from the CCSO held the Jingle Ball Drive. Along with local student athletes and businesses, they collected more than 2,000 balls and toys for local kids.
“The student athletes had a great time handing out the toys for the kids and being part of something like that is the part of my job I’m most proud of,” said Johnson.
As the only woman in the CCSO investigative unit, Johnson says that “women can be slightly under-represented in law enforcement,” but she says that she’s been given “some amazing opportunities in Colquitt County.”
Johnson is still part of the honor guard and spends off-duty time taking care of her daughter.