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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Rhonda Long ... Fulton County's first female deputy

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rhonda Long
April 13 Rhonda Long of Salem successfully completed Basic Police Training course 2007-A at the Black River Technical College Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pocahontas, making her Fulton County's first female deputy.

"This is something I've been interested in doing for a long time," Long said. "I just always kept it in the back of my head."

Although Long has only recently became an official deputy, she has experience working among law enforcement environments, she said.

In 1993, Long graduated from nursing school as an LPN. She worked with White River Rural Medical Center for a few years before she took a position with the Arkansas Department of Correction in Calico Rock.

"I worked in the infirmary as the prison nurse," Long said.

In 2003, Long joined the staff at the Fulton County Sheriff's Department where she worked as the midnight dispatcher. Her experiences there drummed up her interest in working with law enforcement, Long said. "I was there during the escape (of capital murder suspects Bobby Woodrum and Brian Shankle). After that I wanted to be able to handle myself," she said. "Instead of just watching inmates, I wanted to be the person that put them in (jail)."

She was soon given the opportunity. In 2004 while Lloyd Martz was serving as county sheriff, she went through reserve officer training.

Long said she largely credits Martz with her current position. "Being a female in this position -- it was an uphill climb. Lloyd (Martz) got my foot in the door," she said.

She also appreciates Fulton County Sheriff Walter Dillinger for trusting her to fulfill the duties of a certified deputy, Long said. "We got short-handed, and Walter asked me if I'd be interested. He gave me this opportunity," she said.

Long said she was proud to be the county's first female to serve as a deputy. She said she appreciates her co-workers and the community support. "All the guys are professional and great to work with," she said. "And all the folks have been very supportive. I love it."

Long is the mother of four children: J.R., 27; Brittney, 25; Gretchen, 21; and Laini, 20.

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