Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gaffney Woman Becomes First Female Deputy in Two Decades

Gaffney Woman Becomes First Female Deputy in Two Decades

A Gaffney woman was sworn in this week as Cherokee County's first female deputy in more than two decades.

Amanda Henderson, 23, was sworn in Wednesday morning at the Cherokee County Courthouse after working as a detention center officer for almost three-and-a-half years.

Henderson's dream of becoming a deputy -- and eventually a crime scene investigator -- began with a real-life nightmare.

"I remember when my momma got the call, but I didn't know what going on," Henderson recalled with tears in her eyes.

She was just six years old when her maternal grandmother, Charlene Simmons, was stabbed to death in Cleveland County, NC.

"She was my grandma, she was my world, and she was took from me."

For 17 years, Simmons' case remained cold until a couple of months ago when three men were charged with murder; a fourth suspect had since died.

During those almost two decades of the unknown, Henderson developed a passion for law enforcement because of wanting to solve her grandmother's case.

What's more, she says she'll have a special connection to the families and victims of violent crime.

"I can be somebody for them that they can talk to that kind of has a little bit of understanding of what it feels like to have somebody taken from you," Henderson said.

Henderson will spend a few months shadowing patrol deputies before attending 12 weeks at the police academy, after which she'll be ready for duty.

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