Kalie Abbett has a flair for bold titles and transcending expectations. After all, she is the record holder for killing the largest whitetail deer – a 27-pointer – as a female in the state of Alabama. When she unknowingly altered history in her career choice, she didn’t seem at all fazed.
Earlier this year, Abbett was hired as the first female officer at the Dadeville Police Department, and she has transitioned seamlessly into the role.
“I really didn’t even know I was the first female officer until they started talking about it around the office. I just don’t look at things that way. I am treated the same, as it should be. Everyone is equal,” said Abbett.
A Benjamin Russell High School graduate and Jackson’s Gap native, Abbett was exposed to a role in law enforcement when she was working with the Jackson’s Gap Volunteer Fire Department.
Lt. Eric Hall with the Jacksons Gap Police Department invited Abbett to ride along with him. She then spent two and a half years in the Jackson’s Gap volunteer police reserves, gaining experience in the field.
When she began shadowing Hall, Abbett wasn’t required to have any formal certifications aside from proper qualifications for her firearms.
“I didn’t really know that being in law enforcement was what I wanted to do until I started working in the reserves. I always liked helping other people, though, and I will always help out in any way that I can,” said Abbett.
During her years with the Jackson’s Gap police reserves, she had multiple opportunities to attend the Law Enforcement Academy, but the timing was never right. Earlier this year, then-Dadeville Police Chief David Barbour personally reached out to Abbett about a position open on his team.
“Chief Barbour is really the one that got the ball rolling for me, and he had the confidence in me to succeed,” said Abbett.
She spent 13 weeks at Northeast Alabama Law Enforcement Academy in Anniston and graduated on July 25, 2019.
“I really liked the size of the department in Jackson’s Gap,” said Abbett. “Dadeville is small, too. It’s more like a family. Although I am known as The Rookie, which I really don’t like, and I’m really not a rookie.”
Her cousin is Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett, so law enforcement is prevalent in her family. He was excited for her new adventure and said to not let him down – which she knew she wouldn’t.
“It was a little rocky when I first started out in Dadeville because a bunch of people left when Chief Barbour retired, but it’s getting better,” said Abbett. “And Chief Floyd holds the same expectations as Barbour did.”
Currently, Abbett is assigned to night shifts, where she is on duty from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., but she hopes to return to day shifts when a new officer is hired. She also is being trained to work with DHR, children and domestic violence. Kids tend to open up more and be more comfortable around a female officer, she said.
“My biggest pet peeve is people that mess with the kids and the elderly – people that can’t defend themselves,” said Abbett.
While the job is rewarding, it does come with some adverse training. In order to be certified to carry pepper spray and a stun gun, police officers are coached to be able to handle perpetrators while those weapons are being personally used against them.
“That really hurt. The pepper spray lingered in my eyes for like three or four days, and it feels like your head is about to explode. Water re-activates the chemicals so every time you shower, it comes back,” said Abbett.
Every year, officers need to be re-certified to carry pepper spray and a stun gun but, fortunately, only need to endure the torture one time.
Abbett takes her policing very seriously, and her future goal is to keep advancing by being the best officer possible, she said.
“I do my job to the best of my ability and strive to do my best,” said Abbett. “I try to assess a situation and make accurate judgments to ensure proper actions are taken. If I’m not 100 percent on something, I am not going to do it. And honesty goes a long way with me.”
Another appealing aspect of the job is the constantly changing scenery and situations.
“You never know what you’re going to get each day. Even when we get repeaters, we may have an idea of what to expect, but it’s always a different call,” said Abbett. “Plus I love being outdoors.”
When she’s not at the police department, Abbett and her fiancé, Michael Koubek, can be found in the woods or on the lake, hunting and fishing.
The couple first met at a hunting store when Abbett was 10 years old. They re-connected about a decade ago. They’ve been engaged for two years and hope to marry early this year.
“I met my fiancé through hunting, which has been my passion ever since my dad took me hunting when I was as young as I can remember,” she said. “After I killed my first deer at age 6, I was hooked.”
A dedicated sportswoman, Abbett showcases that same grit and loyalty in her career. While she may not think of herself as a role model, Abbett’s zest for helping others and secure mindset for breaking the mold sets a positive example for future young minds.