MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The word policeman has been used for decades, but two female police officer’s in the city of Meridian are making it well known that it’s not just a man’s job.
K9 officer Brittany Vallas and Motor Officer Shalonda Jennings are some the first female officers to do what they do..
“When I tried out for it I didn’t think, ‘Well, I’ll be the first female.’ It’s unbelievable,” Motorcycle Officer Shalonda Jennings says.
“When the opportunity arose for me to be able to interview for that position I took it,” K9 Officer Brittany Vallas says.
Officer Jennings nor Officer Vallas say they think of their jobs in the terms of gender.
“The only difference between me and the other officers is that I’m just a female. There is no other difference,” Vallas says.
“Anything you set your mind to you can do it. Look at me, I had no clue how to ride a motorcycle. This is like an 800 pound bike,” Jennings says.
Chief Benny Dubose says everyone is hired based on the qualifications for the job. However, he does believe this is a milestone.
“When I started it was unheard of. We have one or two officers, but they all perform well,” Dubose says.
Regardless of gender, all officers face the same risks.
“We had one female officer who gave up her life doing this job. That risk is out there,” Dubose explains.
“Because you’re a female doesn’t mean that you can’t do what most people think only men can do,” Vallas says.
“It’s all a mind thing. I still encourage any female to do anything. If men can do it, then we can do it too,” Jennings says.
They strive to be the best in fulfilling their duties as police officers and in the special roles they’ve taken on.
Vallas and Jennings have been highlighted in our First Responder series that airs every Sunday night on Newscenter 11 at 10.