Lieutenant Love: A Day in the Life of a Female Jailer
Lieutenant Love is the matriarch of her home, running the household that includes her mother, Charlene Ross, her daughter Sharese, and her grandchildren, Shanquella, 10, and Tahmahn, 6. As Love dresses for her twelve-hour shift, her daughter Sharese works on the computer in Love’s bedroom. Lieutenant Love does not take her gun into the jail as jailers must check their guns prior to entering, but she would carry it on her if she were on road duty.
Lieutenant Carolyn Ross Love began working at the Cumberland County Jail in 1987 after she became dual certified as a jailer and a deputy. Love said she saw the job as a challenge. “I thought, if a man can do it, so can I.” Three years later, Love became the first female lieutenant in the sheriff’s office. Love gets respect from both officers and inmates, but outside of that she feels that some people do not respect her because she is a female, and perhaps because she is black.
Leiutenant Love removes the handcuffs from an inmate so that she may make a phone call. Love spends much of her time in an office. Because she is simultaneously a shift leader for her platoon and the supervisor on duty, she handles any inmate infractions and makes most of the major decisions during her shift.
Love is essentially the mother figure for her grandchildren Shanquella, 10, left, and Tahmahn, 6, center. At home she ensures that homework gets finished, the dog is fed and bathed, and bad grades on report cards are addressed. When Love gets home from the day shift, Shanquella and Tahmahn are constantly asking Love to play with them or to do anything that their mother Sharese has neglected to do throughout the day. At the end of the day, if Love is in the two-week period in which she works days, she often finds herself in bed with two small children, who are happy she is home.
On report card day, it is Love who discusses Shanquella’s grades with her. Shanquella “hates” when Love works nights, “because then we ain’t got nobody to play with.” According to Shanquella, Love is “the most fun”.
Love checks both of Tahmahn’s loose teeth after he gets home from school. Each time Love tries to wiggle one, Tahmahn playfully bites at her hand. Tahmahn is affectionately known as “Grandma’s boy,” around the family. He weighed one pound, three ounces when he was born and was in the hospital for four months. Love said that for this reason he required extra attention.
In addition to getting respect from fellow officers, Love also receives respect from inmates. Love says that this is because she talks straight with them, and tells them exactly how it is going to be. Under Love’s watchful eye, an inmate makes a phone call. The inmate flooded her cell earlier that morning by stuffing her breakfast into the drain, and she had to be brought to the office to be dealt with by Love.
Love’s roles at home and at work rarely differ. She is a matriarch in her household and in her career. “This is like a big day care,” said Branford Ivey, her sergeant in the B Platoon, “and we’re mom and dad.” Jailers work twelve-hour shifts, rotating between four platoons. Each platoon works the day shift for two weeks, followed by the night shift for two weeks. “I wish that we worked a shift for a longer time so that our bodies could get used to the schedule,” said Love. “ Do I ever think about quitting this place? Yes. But I think about the years I’ve put in, the people I work with. And actually there are some times when I think, ‘I love my job.”
Published as “Straight Talk With Lt. Love” in The Fayetteville Observer on Thursday, April 25, 2002 as part of the Cape Fear Chronicles monthly series.
Seeing all the makeup and hairstyles, dresses and jewelry, one knows that even the little kids comprehend how important this day is. They do not stand still for long, preferring to whirl and twirl in their special costumes, yet even when they do, the energy does not stop.
Mexico had been preparing for one year for the day the Pope would declare the first Indian from Latin America a saint, and this church had been preparing for one month. But it means as much to the Latinos in the United States as it does to those in Mexico. About one thousand celebrants crowded Saint Raphael the Archangel Church to celebrate Juan Diego who, according to legend, in 1531, witnessed an appearance of the Virgin de Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint.
Nearly 90 percent of the Latinos in the church congregation are from Mexico, and the others are from the Dominican Republic, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Guatemala.
Hector Velazco, pastor associate (associate pastor) at Saint Raphael, who together with Padre (Father) Shay Auerbach arranged the celebration, said that people from all countries, including the United States, joined in the celebration.
“It was an opportunity for unity for the culture, for the people of Mexico, because there are different cultures inside of Mexico.”
After years of waiting for her 15th birthday, plus six months of planning, Gabriela Macias’ moment has come. She turned 15 on December 26, and her quinceanera, a coming-of-age ceremony in Mexican culture, has come.
“I’m excited,” said Gabriela. “Surprised. I was waiting all these years for them to do this. I am glad that all my family’s here and my friends.”
Family is a central theme at the quinceanera, and it affects all of the members involved. For Gabriela’s cousins, Melissa, 11, and Maria, 12, it makes them more excited for their own ceremonies. For Cruz Macias, Gabriela’s father, this is his first and only child to celebrate quinceanera, since his other three children are boys.
“I am excited and happy,” reflected Macias. “…also a little sad. A quinceanera is a tradition in Mexico, when a lady comes to 15 years old, to celebrate. It is giving her a step forward. First she’s a girl, then she’s a teen. Every girl is waiting for that moment. That’s what makes this different from any other birthday. To be able to reach this age and not take up with a boy at an early age,” explained Macias.
“We also thank God for that moment,” continued Macias clarifying the significance of the celebration. “That she has reached the 15 years old. This is the way we appreciate[d] Him,” concluded Macias. “We celebrate like a big party.”
The Macias family, Luz and Cruz and their children Gabriela, 15; David, 12; Jonathan, 7; and Cruz, 6, moved to North Carolina from Monterrey Mexico, about 13 years ago. They lived in Selma for the first four years, then moved to Pine Level and have lived in Smithfield for the last six years.
Gabriela said that the family came here to be with their extended family.
“My uncle Jessie Macias was here and he wanted us to come,” she said.
Fact: According to the Pew Hispanic Center and Brookings Institution, the Hispanic population in the Triangle region grew 1,180 percent from 1980 to 2000.
I composed these photo columns in 2002* after the 2000 U.S. Census data was released and disaggregated. The report demonstrated a great increase in the diversity of the Triangle region (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Eastern Wake County) in North Carolina. My objective was to highlight this diversity positively, through celebrations, and thus inform readers about different cultures and changes in their local communities.