LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When she signed up to be a Jefferson County Police officer, Carol Hickman said she wanted to make a difference.
Hickman is a retired captain and was the first woman and African American officer to lead a district for the county.
She said she started out as a clerk typist.
“The police department didn’t have any women, and in 1972 I went to school and became an officer,” she explained.
Hickman climbed the ranks from sergeant to lieutenant to captain. Because of her rising within the ranks, she said someone told her no one would listen to her because she’s a woman.
“I thanked him, and ironically, the chief, he retired then came back as interim chief. When he came back, he was the person I made major,” she said.
She said within Jefferson County Police, the chief appoints majors within the department. Whenever a new chief is selected, they have the option to change who has the major rank. It is not a demotion she said, only a change in title.
Hickman talked about the difficulties working in a predominantly male profession.
She said, “I can’t say so much of being a woman of color as being a woman. We would go out on cases and people would ask us to go to the back door but when the white officers came they would go through the front door. I didn’t particularly like it but it was a job I had to do and I did it.”
Then one day, Hickman said she had enough and walked through the front door.
She recalled reminding the person they had called them for help. The homeowner allegedly wasn’t happy and called Hickman’s district to complain.
All these years, Hickman said she never forgot the incident and so many others.
Hickman’s first case was the Valley Drive-Ins.
“I was working in missing persons. We got the reports of the soldier and young lady that was missing from the ticket booth at the Valley Drive-In,” she said.
She explained the department were getting leads, but it was pushing them to a second possible case.
“The person who abducted the first people also had abducted this young lady,” Hickman said. “Well, I got the young lady back.”
Another case that stood out to Hickman was Danny Tetrick’s. As of right now, he’s still serving a life sentence at the Kentucky State Penitentiary.
She said in her free time she coached little league baseball for both boys and girls. She also volunteered for Black Achievers for many years and served as a liaison for community and police relations.
She has one son and her late husband, Charles Hickman, was with the Louisville Metro Police Department.