CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. —
This week, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office promoted some of its law enforcement officers to higher ranks during a special ceremony held on Tuesday.
Among those officers was Tabbatha Carter - who entered the ceremony as a lieutenant and left as operations captain for the agency.
Carter says a career in law enforcement was not always her plan.
She moved to Florida from New Jersey, and found a job at a local Walmart.
During that time, she stumbled across an ad for a security guard.
It didn’t take her long to realize that the hiring agency was actually looking for a corrections officer.
Carter jokingly recalls the moment.
“I don’t know if this is what I want!” she remembers thinking.
“But I stuck it out, and here I am today.”
Twenty years later, Carter’s promotion marks a historical moment for the sheriff’s office.
Her appointment makes her the first Black individual to receive that title within the agency.
The new job is significant - especially during a time where topics like race, gender and policing often clash.
But, Carter is clear on what the significance of the new job means to her.
“It’s good to be the first African-American to be promoted here, but I look at it much more than just the race.”
The captain says her childhood gives her an appreciation for the job that spans beyond the color of her skin.
“It was a single parent house. My mom did whatever she could for me and my brother. And I just kept saying it’s gotta be better than this.”
Carter pursued a bachelor’s degree in Management, a master’s degree in Management with an emphasis on Human Resources, and she is now enrolled in a doctoral program at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“I work hard and this is where I am right now,” she tells FOX 4.
Hard work, she says, of which she hopes can inspire anyone.
“I’m able to show other young children no matter the gender or the race that they can make it. You just gotta work hard.”
A message the wife, mom of three and proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated says she wants to pass onto everyone.
“You can do it. No matter the circumstance.”