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When Breaking the Rules Has the Best Consequences

Ingrid Nickol Retzer, a police officer in Northern Texas, had the rule to never date or marry a fellow officer. But all that changed after she met Amelia Grace Ragsdale.

On Jan. 9, 2020. Ms. Retzer was assigned to Ms. Ragsdale’s patrol sector crew. “I remember the moment Ingrid walked into work for the first time,” Ms. Ragsdale, 30, said.

Ms. Ragsdale said she knew Ms. Retzer was gay and married. But, she said, “I developed quite a crush on her.”

“I was clueless,” Ms. Retzer, 48, said.

The two officers became fast friends. “We would have girls’ night with another female officer,” Ms. Ragsdale said. “I was always so excited mostly because I got to hang out with Ingrid.”

But a month later, as their friendship began to deepen, Ms. Retzer’s situation changed. She separated from her wife of three years and divorce was imminent.

Then, on May 16, 2020, their girls’ night took on a different tone. “Our friend wasn’t feeling well, so it was actually the first time we had ever been alone hanging out, and she said she had a huge crush on me,” Ms. Retzer said. “She told me, ‘I know you’re not in the position to date. But I really care about you.’”

In late July 2020, when Ms. Retzer was officially divorced, the two finally had their first date. Ms. Ragsdale cooked Ms. Retzer a spaghetti dinner at her home. A month later, the two officially became a couple.

They went to their supervisor with the news. “In our department, relationships are allowed but you can’t work together,” Ms. Ragsdale said, adding that it was a smart rule. If you’re too close to your fellow officer, she said, “your emotions kick in before your instincts kick in.”

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The two had begun feeling protective of each other at work. They knew that even without the rule, they could no longer work side by side. “Ingrid transferred to another patrol crew so our emotions didn’t get in the way of how we handled calls,” Ms. Ragsdale said. “That’s when we knew we were falling in love.”

In January 2022, Ms. Retzer moved into Ms. Ragsdale’s apartment in a suburb of North Dallas. And, in March 2022, Ms. Retzer proposed to Ms. Ragsdale on a hike along the river in Broken Bow, Okla., during a weekend getaway.

Ms. Retzer holds her associate’s degree from Columbia College of Missouri and is currently completing her bachelors in criminal justice administration at University of North Texas. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Mansfield, Texas, when she was 16.

Ms. Ragsdale, who is from Carrollton, Texas, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in kinesiology and was a corporal in the United States Marine Corps and a musician in the Marine Corps Band.

The couple was married Dec. 17 by Latrice Roman, who is ordained through American Marriage Ministries, at La Cour Venue in McKinney, Texas, before 100 guests. Ms. Retzer carried a photograph of her father, Carl Retzer, down the aisle. He died this past August from end-stage heart failure.

“There was a red cardinal flying around the venue all day,” Ms. Retzer said. “Some believe that when cardinals appear it’s God sending your passed love one to see you.”

Ms. Retzer said she felt confident breaking her “no fellow officers” rule. “We know when we have a difficult day, we’re coming home to love, empathy, and a safe place to be understood,” Ms. Ragsdale said.

Although she wasn’t worried about marrying a fellow officer, Ms. Ragsdale was worried about how her Southern Baptist parents might respond to her marrying Ms. Retzer. But when it came down to it, her family was very supportive. Ms. Ragsdale said, “They know that the God they believe in is loving and accepting.”

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