Carri Dials: An Officer and a Lady

14 Nov

Photo Credits: Heather Rathbun

Carri Dials walks into her Parisian themed apartment and puts a new bowl of milk out for her kitten. She selects a dress from her wardrobe that she will wear on a date the next day. Then she washes the blood out of her uniform. Dials is a police officer with the New Orleans Police Department who prides herself in being a female in the field.

Although judged by her long blonde hair and fashionable dress, Dials braves night shifts in one of the most dangerous and violent cities to work as an officer. New Orleans is not only a precarious place for a woman to be working at dark, but it has become one of the murder capitals in the nation.

“Halloween weekend we had 15 murders alone,” said Dials. “We also deal with everything from simple intoxication charges all the way up to murder and aggravated rape on a daily basis.”

The French Quarter has always been a center for heavy partying, but lately it has become a higher center for crime. While crime in New Orleans is nearly year-round, there are seasonal spikes. According to Dials, murder and rape happen most in the winter time. Then there is Mardi Gras, which, as can be anticipated, is a high time for arrests.

There are some cases that can be frightening. Last July, Dials and her team received a 9-1-1 call for back-up. A woman had been pulled over by a man with red flashing lights affixed to his car claiming that he was an officer pulling her over for drunk driving. He then frisked her, and when Dials arrived he had a gun pulled on her. Although he had a shiny badge displayed on his hip, he was actually a professor from Kentucky. When Dials’ team searched the vehicle, they found a bundle of military weapons in his car, including a 308 caliber Remington Rifle with a 10×40 scope, a 12 gage Mossberg shotgun with laser light and flashlight attachments, four knives, and a total of 446 live rounds.

“Police [work] has always been second nature for me. I am still girly in my own time, but it has always been in my nature. I have always loved protecting people,” said Dials. She is not sure whether or not police work in a violent city can desensitize people, but some cases shake her emotions more than others.

“The fact is I don’t show any reaction at all to an adult that overdoses on drugs or one that commits suicide, or even an old person that dies in their home. However, I always cry after work when something happens to a child,” said Dials.

One call was for a two-year old girl who had been put into the hospital after being violently beaten and raped. Almost every bone in her body was broken and she was placed in a full body cast. Her father’s DNA was removed inside her vagina.

“We arrested him, and the officer I was with and I went to the chapel in the hospital. We cried together, and we prayed for the little girl. These are the type of stories that most people don’t know about the police,” said Dials.

At times, Dial’s self proclaimed girly-girl side works for her benefit.

“My bubbly girly girl works best with my blonde hair and big boobs; criminals assume I’m stupid. So, when I’m interrogating a criminal I raise my voice to that similar of a little girl, and I play stupid. Then when they get comfortable I flip the switch on them.

Also, women try to get away with things with the males.  As a female officer I know the tricks of the trade when it comes to being a female. Female criminals hate it when I show up on scene,” said Dials.

Dials’ personality changes on and off duty.

“On the job, I am an aggressive take-no-crap cop. I will fight, use my tools on my belt (taser/spray/baton/gun) with the best of them,” said Dials. “In fact, the citizens in my beat, which is high drug and high crime, call me, ‘The Country Bitch.’ I take pride in the name, because it means I am doing my job right.”

However, one would never guess this by visiting Dials in her home and watching her straighten her hair, apply her mascara, and sort through her jewelry collection. She is a sweetheart who loves shoes, shopping, and vacations.

“I actually cook and clean for my lovely man, and I am very much a domesticated lady. I also love to wear dresses and skirts and dress nice, instead of my made-for- a- man uniform.”

One thing that Dials finds unfortunate is the stigma surrounding female offers, and the fact many female cops live up to those expectations.

One common stigma is that female officers are lesbians.

“ About 92% of them are,” said Dials  “Many people also say that  female officers can’t handle themselves, amd unfortunately that is true as well, not all of us, but most cannot,” said Dials.

One of the most common stigmas that Dials hears is that female officers have something to prove

“That is true, because we do. We are not taken seriously, and criminals always test female officers,” said Dials.

Dials admits that at times she finds herself in situations  in which she is trying to prove herself as an officer and can be unduly aggressive.

“I am a sweet lady, but when I say ‘excuse me sir/ma’am, can you stop what you are doing?’ it does not work as well as ‘knock your f****** s*** off!”

At the end of her shift, she returns to her pink bedroom and retires from her uniform and slides into her dress and heels. Lipsticked and handcuff free, she blends in with the other girls in the Big Easy, but she is not afraid to fight.

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