Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Deputy Carolyn Franklin says her favorite thing about her work day is meeting people.

“I came here (to OCSO) in the court system, working with family court, general sessions and meeting a lot of people,” she said. “And that’s what I like doing.”

Her job sees her working in courtrooms, monitoring hallways, greeting people and checking them as they enter the courthouse, as well as sometimes working the civil side, serving papers.

In the course of her work day, Franklin comes into contact with all sorts of people.

“You know you’re going to meet people and you’re going to greet people,” she said. “And that’s one of the best things that you can ever do.

“You treat people like you want to be treated,” she said. “And when it comes up with knowing their day is bad, you put a smile on their face. That’s very important.”

Her job is not just about enforcing the law, it’s also about interacting with people, Franklin said.

“It’s not all about locking up somebody, it’s about helping somebody,” she said.

She said she likes to give candy, or even sometimes a dollar bill, to the children who come into the courthouse.

“A lot of people say, ‘That’s the police and you’re being bad,’” she said. “We don’t want the children to feel like we’re coming to get (them) because they’re being bad. We’re good people and we want to let them come to us and feel comfortable with us.”

The 61-year-old started working part-time with the sheriff’s office in 1998, becoming full-time head of the records division in 2000. A couple of years later, Franklin became a reserve deputy. She found that she really liked it and was hired as a full-time officer in 2010.

Franklin graduated from Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in 1997 and went on to Claflin College (now University), graduating in 2001.

She is a member of Garden of Prayer Church and says she evangelizes in different areas, especially with youth. She talks to them about crime and tries to “help them stay focused.”

“They come to me for a lot of input, especially when they have already messed up, or before they mess up,” Franklin said. “They always like to come to me for a little bit of counseling.”

Franklin has a side business creating “fruit galleries” – elaborate displays of different fruits – mainly for friends and family.

She sometimes decorates whole tables for weddings, anniversaries and birthday parties. It started as a hobby but became a small business in 2015, she said.

“I call it ‘Fruity Fruits,’” Franklin said. “I’ve been doing that for 30 years now.”

Her mother and other family members worked catering events. She said she saw someone creating a fruit display only once, but she quickly caught on.

“And I picked up on it, and I started doing fruits ever since,” she said.

No design is ever the same, she said.

“It always has another touch to it,” Franklin said. “It depends on who it’s for and where it’s going.”

Her best experience in the job as a deputy is helping people “and knowing that when people say, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ it takes everybody. It takes police officers, it takes counseling, it takes people everywhere to help in every area,” Franklin said.

She said the worst thing about her work is the uncertainty of each day and “how you wake up in the morning and how you feel that morning.”

When she has those tough times, she said she prays.

“You say, ‘Lord, help my day to go good,’” she said. “You’re going to have some obstacles coming your way, but you’ve got to know how to handle them.”

In her spare time, Franklin enjoys line dancing. She dances with the Edisto Line Dancers, getting involved because she was working security for the group on Wednesday nights.

“And so I would just put on my clothes there and start line dancing as well,” she said. “That’s what I like to do.”

Franklin is a mother of three and has been a foster parent to many children over the years. A lifelong Orangeburg resident, she is the daughter of the late David and Ruthie Colter.

Contact the writer: chuff@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5543.

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