There is a record-breaking development in North Carolina. For the first time in the state’s history, there are now SIX African-American women serving as police chiefs.
Catrina Amelia Thompson recently sworn in as the police chief of Winston-Salem becomes the sixth black woman currently serving in the law enforcement of North Carolina.
A month earlier, another black woman, Gina Hawkins, was sworn in as police chief Fayetteville. Fayetteville has a population of 200,000 and is 60 miles away from Raleigh.
Local media WRAL brought together some of these black women serving as police chiefs in the state to discuss the challenges they face in North Carolina which has for a long had brushes with racial discrimination. Law enforcement has also always been criticized for failing to promote women. In the case of the six police chiefs, they represent two minorities in the police force, one of being women, and the other of being black.
Raleigh’s police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said of their feat: “We’ve broken a glass ceiling.”
Hawkins and CJ Davis, police chief in Durham, both began their careers at the Atlanta Police Department in Georgia. They shared that racial diversity was not an issue there, but acknowledged that there were very few women in the service.
Davis shared the challenges of being a woman in such a profession as the male-dominated law enforcement. She said: “Even far into our careers, it was always a proving game.”
Another police chief, Patrice Andrews from Morrisville shared: “There was a proving ground. It wasn’t because I was a black woman. It was because I was a woman and I think everyone just wanted to see, “What is she really made of?”
The women chiefs of police are in unison that their success reflects a “paradigm shift in policing” and that’s how modern police force should look like- with more women and more minorities in lead roles.
Andrews said there’s a happy trend for women taking on more responsibilities in the police force. She said: “Know that it’s not just happening here. It’s happening in Dallas, in Portland, it’s all over. It’s happening all over, and I just tell you, I love the black girl magic.”