LEXINGTON, S.C. – Deputy Katelyn Kniphfer remembers walking through the halls of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department as a child.
She spent some afternoons in the building after school with her aunt, a Sheriff’s Department retiree. Her uncle served with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, so she grew up around the law enforcement field.
Kniphfer now finds herself protecting the community she grew up in, but her road to getting there is a bit unusual. After earning a biology degree, she worked in a trauma hospital’s emergency room for almost five years.
After leaving the medical field, Kniphfer took a chance on a law enforcement career, immediately falling in love with it and coming out of her shell.
“I loved the adrenaline behind it,” Kniphfer said. “I loved helping people, getting to be there for people on their worst days, and I still get to do that.”
As for her long-term goals, Kniphfer hopes her background in biology will help her become a part of the Crime Reduction Unit or the Narcotics Unit.
Kniphfer also wants to get on the SWAT team as a tactical medic, as she consistently comes across medical calls in her current role.
Kniphfer credits her fellow deputies for influencing her love for her career.
“They know what I can do. I trust them and they trust me,” Kniphfer said. “I feel listened to and heard when I have a complaint or an issue or comment or a suggestion.”
Kniphfer also is grateful for her experience job shadowing at the Sheriff’s Department in high school, and she encourages anyone interested in the field to get involved in those experiences.
“There are a lot of people who are meant for it and are too scared to go into the field,” Kniphfer said. “We have an internship program and we have ride-alongs…just come hang out with us for a day.”
Kniphfer also loves the Lexington County community and has even found members of that community helping her on calls. In one specific case, two men helped her get a shoplifting suspect in handcuffs.
Growing up in this supportive community, Kniphfer enjoys finding ways to give back in her current role.
“You can give back in other ways outside of 911 calls or being there for people on their worst days,” Kniphfer said. “Like community events and giving out stickers to children, just whatever we can do to help people in the community with whatever they need.”