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Deaf Sheriff’s Deputy Inspires Through Determination, Character

By David Lippman, FOX44, 9/13/2013


Susie Cambre had a lot of people tell her she could not work in law enforcement. But fortunately for her, and southeast Louisiana, she could not hear them.

Cambre, more commonly known as Deputy Susie, is an investigator and director of elderly services for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office. She began her career more than 30 years ago with the New Orleans Police Department, and she also worked for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office.

Cambre, who was born deaf, has won dozens of awards, both national and international, for her work as an advocate for the hearing-impaired, as well as for educational programs aimed toward children.

Cambre made a sudden career change from art therapy to law enforcement in the 1970's.

"I first got into law enforcement because somebody broke into my house," she said. "Because I didn't have any way to call for help."

When she realized that she could not speak with an emergency dispatcher, she decided to change the system from the inside for the betterment of all deaf people.

"So I learned that we didn't have the same rights, we didn't have the ability to call for help," she stated. "I learned that we had to teach those professionals, we have to teach people what we want."

Cambre fought for a few years to become a police officer so she could bring equality to people who cannot hear. Her mailman at the time was one of the first black mailmen, and his struggle inspired her. He also taught her that an onslaught of rejection was the best time to be deaf.

When she finally got the job, she decided that equality meant making the community better for everyone, not just the deaf.

"I never wanted to do just people with handicaps," she recalled. "It had to be everybody. I had to do it on the same terms as the other law enforcement officers."

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