LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — Candi Shealy knew she wanted to be in law enforcement from a young age.
"I had law enforcement in my family. I used to listen to my dad come home and talk about all the great stories, all the fun stuff that they used to do on duty," said Deputy Shealy. "I had a little bit of that in my blood so that was a career path I decided to take."
She started working in law enforcement in late 2010. She went to the academy and graduated in 2011. She worked for another law enforcement for a couple of years before making her way to the Lexington County Sheriff's Department.
While she's worked on the road, the community action team and as a school resource officer, she is now with the K-9 unit.
"I've been on the K-9 Unit for about a year and a half now," explained Deputy Shealy. "Eddie (her K-9) is actually a German Shorthaired Pointer. He is, we think, about two and a half years old and has a wonderful temperament, wonderful disposition."
Deputy Shealy describes her K-9 as social and a very sweet dog. He's being trained for tracking, article searches and narcotics. While the deputy has had Eddie for nine weeks, they are fine-tuning a couple of things with training so he can start working.
With Eddie being new to law enforcement, it has taken a little bit more time to train him.
"It's very lengthy and very detailed and it also depends on how experienced the dog is when you get them," said Deputy Shealy. "It's been a very in-depth process and we're still learning."
The deputy enjoys working with dogs and felt like being a handler was always something she wanted to do with her career.
"It's very time-consuming and very strenuous from a physical standpoint and just demanding on your family and that type of thing," explained Deputy Shealy. "I had to wait until it was the right time for me to be able to move forward and try to get on the team. I do have two children of my own that I kind of had to wait until they got a little more independent so I can devote more of my time with my career path for this."
Deputy Shealy is proud to be the first female K-9 handler for the Lexington County Sheriff's Department.
"Any time that anybody can be the first at something, that's great, you know, setting the bar," said Deputy Shealy. "I try to hold myself to a very high standard and always set a great example. I try very hard. I work very hard."
She says it's been a great experience for her. It's challenging at times but she accepts the challenge and moves forward.
"If you have a dream or if you have aspirations to do something, always keep going, keep trying," explained Deputy Shealy. "Failure is a part of success. So even if you don't make it the first time, keep trying, keep your chin up and adapt and overcome and get past those challenges to the best of your ability and try to succeed."