Being with a male officer for 3 months should have been an indication that no one had any confidence in a female in uniform. Everyone immediately started talking to him and pretty much ignored me. Being new to the community was another challenge for me as I had to prove myself to them as well. Once I left the 2-person unit and began to patrol as a 1 person patrol unit the public still had a problem relating to me. Making traffic stops were the easiest however as I was all of 6 foot 1 inch as I exited the patrol car and a whopping 235 pounds. Some motorists even commented that, 'I didn't think you would ever stop coming out of that car'. As luck would have it I managed to write a lot of tickets for speeding on a new highway that was becoming speed alley. I wrote a big football star, Earl Campbell who was playing for the then Houston Oilers. He paid it shortly after the stop and my Sergeant was up in arms over it. But I didn't know who he was and he obviously respected the stop as he took care of it right away. After that I decided to not write those that were in the medical field such as doctors, nurses, or EMT. I might need one of them someday!
My non-communication with the people in the community obviously came to the attention of two high ranking officers in the department. On the day that I was assigned an area to patrol, I was excited to start my community policing. At the same time I dreaded having them turn their backs on me. As I prepared my patrol car and was about to leave the lot of the police department there was a knock on the passenger side window. Standing there was the Chief of Police. He asked me if he could ride with me for the first half of my day, well how do tell this guy no? So I accepted him as my partner of the day. Now I am really nervous.
He told me he'd stay in the car so the calling party would have to talk to me but that backfired and he was really surprised when the public came up to his side of the car even though I was standing outside to meet them. At the end of the first 4 hours the Chief commented that I did a good job. He got out and my next partner was standing by. This new person was the head of the Detective Division, Dennis Lewis. The Chief spoke to him in passing and as Detective Lewis got in the car he told me that after today the public WILL NEVER SHUN you again. WHAT?
The first call we responded to was a civil dispute and as soon as the complainant ignored me and went to him he immediately stopped them and instructed them that if they won't talk to Officer T then they will not talk to him either. She is a police officer and here to assist. He told them if they wanted help she is here to do that otherwise the police will leave and not come back! The complainant was surprised and so was I!
After a time it got to where people would call and request me to respond to their homes. Captain Dennis Lewis was my salvation in this situation.......