In 1977 there were no police officers, there were only 'policemen'. My badge had that printed on it and it meant the world to me. Being the only female in the police academy was a struggle every day in that I was continually proving myself to the other male students in the class. There were candidates from several different agencies in the class that openly resented my being there and training with them. My fellow officers were supportive but I knew some had their doubts as to whether I could 'hold my own'.
One day while in the gymnasium preparing for a defense tactics class we were standing around awaiting for our instructor. As is usual when a bunch of guys are together they decided to pull a fast one on me. The biggest guy in the class came up behind me and put his arms around me and pinned my arms to my side. I did not even think twice about it, I immediately dropped to my knees and bent over forward so fast that I threw him over my head and across the floor. He wasn't hurt except for his pride and from that day forward none of them doubted that I could take care of myself or anyone else for that matter.
Little did they know that growing up with 3 brothers and 2 sisters prepares you for the unexpected at any time!!! This deputy sheriff became a friend that day and every day after that. I never knew where Fred went after he left law enforcement but I know he left behind a legacy.
When graduation day came in March 1977 I was beaming with happiness that I completed this chapter of my new life purpose. I vowed to be the best and most honest officer there ever was. I had to be....as my son, James, was watching every move I made. I was his role model and I couldn't let him
My training officer was a retired Sergeant Major in the Army before he came to the police department so he treated me like a 'girl'. I finally had to stop him and tell him that I wanted to be like him and all the other 'guys'. Rough and tough. He was apprehensive at first but this was sorta like a 'boot camp' for the both of us.
The first time a door was let go and slammed me in the face I knew we had made it and if there were going to be doors opened for me I would be the one to push them open. Every man for themselves UNLESS we were on the street and the bad guys were ganging up on us then we all were there. Kinda like the Calvary or Dudley Do Right!!
At times they were my salvation..........