NPD officer Kaitlyn Lloyd right at home as a cop

Published 3:43 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

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For National Police Woman Day on Sept. 12, the Nicholasville Police Department recognized Captain Alexus Jones and the only woman in the department who works in the patrol division, Officer Kaitlyn Lloyd.

Lloyd was sworn into the Nicholasville Police Department almost a year ago, on Oct. 4, 2022. She trained with the police academy for 20 weeks starting on Oct. 30 and finished field training a few months ago.

She enjoys what she does.

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“I do love coming to work,” Lloyd said.

Being a police officer wasn’t a wanton decision for Lloyd, and she didn’t even see herself doing this work until recently – but now, Lloyd says she knows she’s meant to be exactly where she is.

The pressures of being a first responder were something she witnessed growing up.

In her blood

Born and raised on a farm in rural Fayette County, Lloyd’s father is a former Lexington Fire Department captain, and her mother worked at the Nicholasville Police Department with a focus on domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Both of my parents were first responders. They never tried to hide the real world from me. Although I was blessed as a child, I never wanted or needed anything, but they ensured that I knew the importance of hard work and the reality of the world,” Lloyd said. “Because they wanted to prepare me for growing up and seeing things.”

Lloyd attended Lexington Christian Academy and graduated from Henry Clay High School. She received her associate’s degree at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and then attended the University of Kentucky to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

With expertise in social work, Lloyd said she has a different outlook than most people and police officers since she is educated in trauma and mental illness.

She also has a certificate specializing in substance use disorder.

“It’s given me the ability to have more empathy and compassion, understanding the neurological impact of addiction and why people behave the way they do,” Lloyd said.

She also has a keen skill in communication and de-escalating situations, with experience in a therapy internship at UK Psychiatry.

“I think (the internship) got me used to hearing really hard, traumatic things,” Lloyd said, even though it’s still different from being hands-on and in person at a crime scene.

Her background would come in handy when she decided to make a career move.

Becoming an officer

Lloyd said her reason for becoming a police officer is multifaceted.

Lloyd said that although she grew up in a first responder family, she didn’t envision herself as a police officer.

“It’s more so something I didn’t feel like I could do. I had a lot of self-doubt. I lacked confidence when I was growing up because I was bullied badly in school,” Lloyd said.

She added that she doesn’t remember what she wanted to be as a little girl.

“I think I wanted to be a model or an actress, something like that. But I didn’t see myself doing this,” Lloyd said.

In high school, she wanted to be a psychiatrist.

When Lloyd was only 12 years old, her cousin- a Lexington police officer, was killed in the line of duty. She said this loss was horrendous and changed how she saw the world. She finally saw the dangerous side of the job. Carrying on her cousin’s legacy was the first thing that sparked an interest in the field in Lloyd’s heart.

In college, Lloyd was a victim of a crime and met with a victim’s advocate for resources and support.

“She had such a great impact on me. I asked what she received her degree for because, at this time, I was still in college trying to decide what I wanted to do,” Lloyd said.

The advocate had gotten her degrees in social work.

Lloyd thought, “I want your job!” since she not only works with the police, but she also has to help victims.

“She made me feel like I was heard and validated, and I’m not alone in this. It was cool, and I was glad to have her support,” she said.

Soon after, Lloyd decided she wanted to be a victim’s advocate and interned at the Georgetown Police Department with their victim’s advocate.

The internship sparked fireworks in Lloyd’s brain as she realized she had more affinity for the investigations or patrol unit.

“I felt like I could be a mix of the best of both worlds, so I felt like if I were an officer, I could do the victim’s advocacy work but be more hands-on. I felt like I could support and protect people better that way,” Lloyd said.

She began having conversations with her family about becoming a police officer. Some of her people feared for her safety, but some doubted her ability to do the work.”

You can’t do it,” they would say. “You’re not gonna be capable of doing it.”

“I’ve always been very feminine and very thin growing up. I was bullied a lot for being thin. So I think they believed not only mentally but physically I could not do it,” Lloyd said, adding that she also received judgment for being a woman interested in a male-dominated career.”

As a Christian, Lloyd leaned on prayer and her relationship with God and herself to determine the right choice. She soon realized there was a clear answer.

After a short stint training with the Lexington Police Department, Lloyd resigned because she wasn’t the right fit for the department.

She was told to visit the Nicholasville Police Department.

After walking in and receiving a tour from Chief Michael Fleming, she knew it was where she needed to be.

“I feel like I was placed here for a reason,” Lloyd said.

Even though she feels at home with the department, Lloyd has faced many challenges as a female police officer.

Life as a female officer

To start, Lloyd emphasized that her coworkers do not treat her any differently.

But it’s not the same when she’s in the community- especially in a community still getting used to seeing more female leadership.

“It’s not always, but on some scenes I show up on, I don’t get the same respect as a male officer. Either they want to speak to a male officer, my supervisor, or they’ll downplay what I’m saying.”

Lloyd said even though her male coworkers and supervisor would tell that person the same thing she just did.

Lloyd doesn’t think it only concerns her gender, but she believes that being new to the department, her young age and her gender sometimes leads to folks criticizing her judgment. She’s also had people get into her face, almost as if her identity makes them forget she’s an officer.

Weird comments are also a common part of her experience. Where some cops will get citizens telling them, “I didn’t do it!” to get a quick laugh, Lloyd has instead had people give her “creepy” comments like, “Well, at least they’re better looking now!” and “Take me away! You can handcuff me!” Lloyd said she’d put on a quick, polite laugh and smile and get to her cruiser to escape the uncomfortable situation.

She said she bonds with Jessamine County Sheriff’s Deputy Hannah Rose over it.

Thankfully, she can never get too discouraged because her squad and coworkers will pick her back up, reminding her that people who know and care about her don’t think like this.

She also greatly appreciates the kind-hearted comments she hears from people in person and what she’s seen in the dozens of Facebook comments on the National Police Woman Day appreciation post.

But, according to Lloyd, there are many advantages to being a woman police officer, too.

“It works out often because I’ve gone on scenes where the victim, or even the perpetrator, will only speak to a woman. And I’ve gone to scenes where I show up, and the people there will say- ‘I’m not talking to any of y’all, but I’ll talk to her,’” Lloyd said.

Through the challenges of her identity in this role, she knows it gives her unique strengths, especially when being good with victims is part of who she is.

“If there are women out there interested in law enforcement, I mean anyone interested in law enforcement, feel free to come in and do a ride along if you want to learn more about the police department. We have our citizen’s police academy, and I’m excited to be here, especially now, because I feel like this is when many things are growing and changing. I would tell people not to get discouraged by what others think about or say about you. When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” Lloyd said.

And through it all, she knows she is exactly where she is supposed to be.

“It really does feel so meant to be. I’m so at peace with where I am. I love the people I work with, and we have such an incredible department. I feel like we are going in the direction of really changing things in the community. I love it. It feels surreal because some days I wake up and think, wow, I pushed through all those hurdles, all of the naysayers, and the difficulties with the academy, and I did it,” Lloyd said.