By Tee O’Fallon
Many people have asked me what it’s like to be a female gun-toting, badge-carrying federal agent, particularly one who’s not six-foot-four and hulking with muscle. There are several ways I could answer this, but the truth is always best, so here goes.
While I’m only a whopping five-feet-one inch tall sans shoes (I say that because I do own 4-inch pumps), I’ve arrested quite a few bad guys throughout my career. But that doesn’t mean I’ll kick in a door all by myself and go in Rambo-style. That said, I have kicked in a door. True story! For one of my cases, I had five arrest warrants in my back pocket, and all these guys were hunkered down, hiding from me in one room. How I knew that, will remain a closely guarded secret. Did I take them down all by little myself? Of course not, but I was first in the door. That’s my policy. If it’s my warrant, I’m going in first. That was the door-kicking scenario, but I planned ahead and had ten of the biggest, toughest guys on my six. What I lack in body size, I like to think I make up for in brain matter.
Throughout my career, I’ve found that that, regardless of my size, once I open my mouth, people—cops and feds, bad guys and witnesses—get the picture real fast that I know what I’m doing and I mean business. I’ve never felt people respect me any less because I’m not as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger. I also don’t have that nifty accent.
Ironically, while off-duty one weekend, I was standing on line at a lumber yard waiting to get a piece of wood for a home improvement project at my house, and the guys behind the counter kept taking other customers ahead of me. Could have been because of my size, or lack thereof, more than likely. Or, perhaps they mistakenly assumed I was someone’s wife or girlfriend. That was, until I opened my mouth and said, “Hey, you guys gonna take my order anytime this year?” That did it. A few snickers, a few ‘atta girl’s, and every single man in line stood aside. I swear, it was like the parting of the Red Sea. Truly comical. My point is, size and sex do matter some of the time, and sometimes they don’t. No matter the industry or job series, people have different takes on women in a world of men. My advice is to stand your ground and work hard at whatever it is that you do.
I sincerely hope this brief insight into my world has been entertaining enough to make you chuckle. Contrary to what you may think, law enforcement is full of humorous anecdotes. Plenty more stories to come, some of which I’ll blog about, and some may wind up in a book. Welcome to my world of romantic suspense!