Deputy mother has double the duties

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Sheriff’s Deputy Erica Carr-Romero is the mother of a 10-month-old daughter. Carr-Romero said becoming a mother has changed her life.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy Erica Carr-Romero is seeing things differently as her daughter nears her first birthday.

Motherhood brought with it a new range of emotions, including a deeper sense of mortality and empathy. Worries about her potentially high-risk job sometimes surface because she knows her daughter depends on her.

Incidents where children are victims have a stronger impact on her now, she said.

“Honestly, I never expected to be a mom — I never saw myself as a mom. I have changed,” she said.

“She has made life that much more meaningful.”

After eight years with the Clovis Police Department, Carr-Romero recently took a position with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office. She is the first female to serve as a sheriff’s deputy in almost a decade.

“She’s very capable and very competent and a very good field officer,” Curry County Sheriff Matt Murray said. “I think she’s going to add something to (the sheriff’s department). She’s very, very compassionate about what she does in law enforcement.”

Having a husband who can relate to her career offers her solace, the 29-year-old said.

Roman Romero is in his 11th year at the Clovis Police Department. She said raising a child in a dual-officer household has presented challenges.

Police work means calls in the middle of the night and long shifts at odd hours. Were it not for an extensive family support system, Carr-Romero said things would be far more difficult.

One of the most interesting obstacles she has encountered was figuring out how to breast-feed her baby and work a full shift wearing her bulletproof vest, she said.

She worked it out through a combination of lunch breaks spent at home and pure determination, she said.

She was able to nurse her child for four months until she had to wean her so she could attend K-9 school with a new police dog in Arizona.

Murray said he doesn’t envy the dual role the Romeros play as new parents.

“It’s a unique situation because of shift work and everything else (with) both of them being in law enforcement and being very involved parents,” he said. “I think it would be very demanding.”

Murray said female officers bring invaluable qualities to the job. In 20 years of law enforcement, Murray said he has seen compassion grow among officers, but said some citizens will probably always respond better to females.

“In a victim situation, I think some victims will identify better with (a female officer),” he said.

Learning to balance her devotion to her daughter and career is difficult, but Carr-Romero remembers the reason she went into police work.

“I viewed police officers as the last true knights of the world,” she said. “That honor is what I was seeking.”