Deputy Caitlin Emanuel Serves with Sampson County SO

Viking Spotlight


[Clinton, N.C.] – Sampson Community College’s (SCC) Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program has had the privilege of producing some of the finest law enforcement officers across North Carolina since 1985. One of those former students is Deputy Sherriff Caitlin Emanuel, a 2020 BLET graduate with an inspiring story, who now serves with the Sampson County Sherriff’s Office (SO).

Graduating from Clinton High School in 2015, Emanuel enrolled in the BLET program at SCC in 2019 with the goal of obtaining her certificate. According to Emanuel, she always had plans to pursue a career where she could help others—working in the medical field after high school. However, in 2019, she switched to law enforcement at SCC after a “light switch flipped” for her.

She explained, “I knew I always wanted a job with helping people because that’s just what I know, it runs in my family, it’s a passion. I knew law enforcement was widespread as far as helping with different things, not just dealing with crime. I also knew this career was a male dominant career and there weren’t many females. I remembered that SCC had the program, but I didn’t know the process until I got a packet with the help of the admissions ladies.”

Graduating as the only female cadet in her BLET class, Emanuel began serving with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office (SO) as a Deputy in 2020. However, after just two years, she sustained a life-changing injury in the line of duty. While on patrol, she suffered two gunshot wounds to the leg, requiring multiple surgeries and physical therapy to repair the damage and relearn how to walk.

After the incident, Emanuel remarked that she longed to return to duty as soon as possible, but realized she wouldn’t be “physically or mentally able” to serve on road patrol again– a position she held since arriving. 11-months after her injury, Emanuel was contacted about an administrative Deputy position with the SO, and officially returned to full-duty service in June 2023.

“This position that I’m currently in was not planned, but it was a God send,” Emanuel voiced. “I knew during that time while I was out that I wanted to return back to the Sheriff’s Office. A Captain and a Lieutenant in the department approached me with a position working as a Deputy at the front desk. I told them I will think on it and talk with my husband about it. I knew this was my best option for me while I recovered physically and mentally. I returned back to work June 14th, 2023, and am now still currently working at the front desk.”

Serving as Deputy Sheriff in the Administrative Services Division, Emanuel mainly deals with fingerprinting, concealed weapons permits, and working alongside her Sergeant with sex offenders. In her eyes, serving with the Sampson County SO is truly “one of the most rewarding jobs,” even amidst all she’s been through.

Emanuel expressed, “I’ve been with the Sheriff’s office going on four years now and I consider this a passion of mine. I was on road patrol for 2 years until my life changing incident occurred. I have a husband who supported every step I took during that time. I’ve accomplished several things over that period of time, but my biggest accomplishment was being able to return back to work full duty.”

When Deputy Emanuel was injured in July 2022, the local community rallied behind her in support. (Courtesy photo)

Reflecting on her time in SCC’s BLET program, Emanuel recalled it to be a “tough but most rewarding experience.” Her favorite part was the close-nit “family” bond she was able to develop with the other cadets, in addition to the coursework in firearms, driving, and SCAT. She also appreciated the dedication her instructors showed to ensuring their cadets’ success within the program, especially Captain Robert Stroud, BLET Program Qualified Assistant (QA), and Chief Anthony Davis, BLET Director & Instructor.

“Stroud and Davis stepped up to take this program into their hands and make it what it is and needs to be today,” Emanuel stated. “Every teacher and instructor that I’ve encountered in BLET has had a major impact. Most of those instructors I now work with on a daily basis. Every one of them always encouraged me and supported me through every little step, even when I say I couldn’t, they would be there to say I could.”

In a quote, Stroud recalled Emanuel’s performance with the BLET program, stating that she was “one of the hardest working recruits” that year. Admiring her determination and passion throughout her training and career, Stroud mentioned how Emanuel “met every challenge head on,” never letting anything defeat her goal.

“Caitlin’s passion to become a law enforcement officer was powerful— she was one of the hardest working recruits,” he recounted. “Coming into the program, she knew that she had obstacles to overcome. But she pushed herself to her limits and beyond. There is no doubt that she continues to have what it takes to serve and have an impact on people’s lives.”

In the future, Emanuel hopes to finish her degree and rank up as far as she can, continuing to gain time and experience with the Sampson County SO. She also hopes to continue sharing her story with others, advocating for both women in law enforcement and officer safety— two beliefs close to her heart.

She shared, “I want to get my story out to the people who are hoping to make this their career. Officer Safety is key to this career and needs to be a main priority for every law enforcement officer. After I started with the Sheriff’s Office, I also had a hope to speak with other females who were hesitant about this career to give them encouragement to take that step.”

As a whole, Emanuel remarked that she would “always” recommend the BLET program to other individuals looking to pursue a career in law enforcement, especially females. Though no amount of coursework can ever truly prepare you for the field, she explained, the program’s structure taught the fundamentals needed and worked to prepare them for the line of duty—an opportunity she is grateful for.

“My experience in SCC’s BLET was like no other. The structure prepares you for the outside world in a way. We were taught how things and situations could be handled, but you won’t ever know how to fully be able to handle a situation until you’re there to experience it. I actually never thought I would have finished BLET and be where I’m at today. But because I had a passion to be in law enforcement, I finished being the only female to graduate in my class. My time at SCC was challenging, but well worth every challenge.”

Sampson CC extends its deep appreciation to Deputy Emanuel for her service and commitment to ensuring the safety of our local community. The College is inspired by her story and is proud to have played a role in her law enforcement career. SCC looks forward to seeing all she will continue to do with the Sampson County Sherriff’s Office.

For more information about the BLET program or how to enroll, visit

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education. SCC is committed to the principles of equal educational and employment opportunities for all.