One of the two new officers with the Brownstown Police Department made history when she was sworn in.
Natalie Boling, 24, of Salem is the department’s first full-time female officer. In November 2015, Brooke Davidson and Danielle Shuler were the first women to serve as reserves.
Ryan Cherry, 34, of Scottsburg also was sworn in at the start of Monday night’s Brownstown Town Council meeting.
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Both are lateral transfers with Boling coming from the Salem Police Department and Cherry having worked at the Seymour Police Department.
Finding out she is Brownstown’s first full-time female officer, Boling said she hopes she inspires others.
“I want to be a role model for everyone else that wants to do that, especially little girls,” she said of becoming a police officer.
“I also want to change everyone’s mind about the people that think women don’t belong here,” she said. “I think women have a different way of doing things that can be beneficial and can be an asset because men and women think different. I might think of something that you might not or you might think of something that I won’t, so when we all work together, we can come up with the best solution there is.”
Boling graduated from Salem High School in 2013 and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in August 2017. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice.
She started as a corrections officer in Indianapolis before becoming a youth counselor at a residential center for abused and traumatized children in Louisville, Kentucky.
On March 5, 2018, she started at the Salem Police Department.
“I wasn’t going to do this at all. This is very unexpected,” she said of becoming a police officer. “My granddad was chief of police at Salem. My dad was a corrections officer at Washington County for a while. Him and his dad were both bailiff, too, and my grandmother was the court reporter. I thought I would be different and go out and be a psychologist, and then it was like, ‘Umm, no.'”
In the spring, she heard Brownstown was looking for an officer, so she came over for a ridealong. She initially didn’t intend to apply, but she was asked to do so after the ridealong.
She knew Officer Samuel Hughes since he graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy with her in September 2018, and she liked her interactions with the other officers, too.
“They are very professional, super professional, and you can tell that they are good at their job and they know what they are doing and they are going to help you get to where you need to be, and I want to be at that level at some point,” she said.
She applied the next day and was offered a job in July.
“I’m comfortable with where I am, and I feel like this is where I need to be for where I am right now in my life. I’m loving it right now,” she said. “I can’t wait to get more training and to go do stuff and know that somebody’s got my back.”
During the swearing-in, her grandfather, Max Boling, held the Bible, and her parents, grandmother and boyfriend were there, too.
“It was very special for me,” she said. “When I asked him to hold the Bible, it was a touching thing for him, too. I was just trying to carry on the family tradition.”
As she settles in with the department, Boling said she looks forward to the ability to grow.
“I think being a part of the community here is going to be nice, too, because it seems like a really nice place to be,” she said. “It’s small, so everybody knows everybody, and you can make connections that way and have a positive impact. I’m just excited to be here.”
When Cherry was a student at Scottsburg High School, he had an interest in the public service (police officer or firefighter) and automotive fields.
After graduating in 2003, he went to college for a year and decided it wasn’t for him. He switched to the automotive field and went to a technical college in Pennsylvania.
When he returned to the area, he did automotive painting and refinishing for several years before becoming an appraisal residential lister doing data collection work for county assessors.
He wound up in law enforcement in October 2015 when he started at the Seymour Police Department. He graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in February 2016 and remained at Seymour until April of this year.
Cherry worked a civilian job until hearing about an officer opening in Brownstown. He said that piqued his interest because he could work in the same county as his wife, Megan Cherry, who is the executive director of Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry in Seymour.
During an interview with Chief Tom Hanner and Assistant Chief Joe Kelly, Cherry said he had a good first impression.
“I could just really tell that they as chief and assistant chief really have their road guys’ backs, and the morale, I feel like, is good there, is high, the camaraderie is high,” Cherry said. “Those guys seem real easygoing, real easy to talk to, even as a chief and assistant chief, which are very important positions in a department. I feel like they are very approachable. … That was very appealing to me, as well. It’s nice to have that.”
Cherry said he has liked working with the other officers, too, and he’s excited about getting to know people in the community.
Plus, with his wife working at Anchor House, he hopes to have the officers volunteer there and let people he encounters know about the nonprofit organization’s services.
His wife and three young children joined him for Monday night’s swearing-in. He said they are his biggest support system.
“I’m glad my kids got to come up and be a part of that, as well. I think they really enjoyed that,” Cherry said. “My wife has been my rock through everything, through trying to get in law enforcement, to working night shift for three and half going on four years. That’s tough for a family, especially with young children, but she has always been very supportive and always been there for me. Family is definitely No. 1 for me.”
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Name: Natalie Boling
Education: Salem High School (2013); Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice, 2017); Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (2018)
Occupation: New officer with the Brownstown Police Department
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Name: Ryan Cherry
Education: Scottsburg High School (2003); technical diploma from an automotive college in Pennsylvania; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (2016)
Occupation: New officer with the Brownstown Police Department