CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. - Straight from the silver screen to East Tennessee -- a Carter County deputy went undercover as a high school student as part of a drug sting called "Operation Jump Street."
Deputy Donna Rogan said she's revealing her identity because she is an officer of the law, not an informant, and this operation was just part of her job.
Ten months ago, the 22-year-old announced on Facebook she was moving to Carter County and starting high school. But she wasn't going to class as Donna Rogan; she was posing as 17-year-old Hannah Regan. "I didn't care for it too much the first time around, so when they asked me to go back to high school, I wasn't that thrilled at first," she said.
Rogan started as a reserve deputy March 2012. While still in the academy, she began her undercover assignment. "The lingo these teens use now is completely different," she said while talking about her research to prepare for the investigation. "I had to ask my younger brother questions and Google the acronyms and slang."
Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said at a press conference on Monday, they started "Operation Jump Street" after the department got complaints from the community about drug activity in the schools. "[Students] approached me right off the bat," Rogan said. "I wasn't in the school for 30 minutes before people started asking me if I liked to get high."
As a result of the investigation, 14 people were arrested, including nine students and five adults. "I knew these kids needed help and need somebody to intervene and do something," said Rogan. Click here to read more about the arrests.
Becoming someone else for a year was harder than she thought it would be. "I just wanted to sometimes stop and grab them and tell them, 'Look at what you're doing! You can't see it now, but there's a better way,'" she said.
Rogan said she kept her cover to help the students that did become her friends over the year. "That's what helped me to push forward and continue with the investigation, even when it was emotionally hard for me personally," she said.
Rogan's mother is actually an acting coach, which she says helped her with the assignment.
She said she doesn't plan on going undercover for a while and looks forward to continuing her work with the drug unit at the sheriff's department.
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