|GPD hires first African-American woman officer|
|Thursday, March 17, 2011|
By Marjorie Lloyd
The Gallatin Police Department has taken an historic step; the first African-American woman has been hired as an officer. Shanta Johnson, of Selma, Alabama, is joining the force this month.
“She’s going to be a definite asset to our department,” said Interim Chief Don Bandy. “Her smile is contagious. She did her internship here with us when she was going to college, and we encouraged her to apply. We believe in giving people an opportunity.”
Chief Bandy stated that currently Johnson is attending the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in Donelson and will be certified as an officer when she graduates in 10 weeks.
“They push you,” said Chief Bandy. “They train you in all sorts of situations, and our training will continue when she returns.”
Johnson joins eight other female officers in the department, which has a total of 65 officers.
In the early 1970s, the Gallatin Police Department was the first in the state to hire a female officer. Sgt. Betty Smith just recently retired.
Johnson graduated from Selma High School with honors and matriculated from Alabama A&M University at Normal with a degree in Social Work.
However, she describes her longtime “passion” as criminal justice.
“I was always an advocate for justice in my community,” said Johnson in describing her career choice. “Going to college and getting a good education was imperative for me.”
Johnson decided to attend graduate school and major in Criminal Justice “to gain knowledge and experience on issues that plague the law enforcement field today.”
“We’re excited to have her in the department,” said Commander Bill Sorrells.
Johnson said her goal is to build “the integrity of law enforcement throughout the world and “to be an asset, make a difference, and serve Gallatin, utilizing the skills and concepts I have learned from Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University.”