RUSK, Texas — It's not every day an all-female shift gets to operate a police department. A group of three female employees made history by working an all-female shift for the first time at the Rusk Police Department in Cherokee County last week.
Patrol officers, Julie Vickers and Shawn Solly and administrator assistant Rachel Flores say it was a day treated not much differently when performing their daily tasks.
"We don't look at it as we're females," Vickers said. "When we're suited up and when we're all here working, we're officers, just the rest of the police department."
The women are also helping to break down barriers in their daily roles.
"When I come on shift, my job is to patrol the neighborhoods and make sure there isn't any suspicious activity or anything out of the ordinary," Vickers said. "We do also investigate the majority of the cases ourselves up until the point that we do need to bring our investigator in."
Vickers says being a woman on the force in a male-dominated career comes with challenges, one of which is perception.
"When people see a female officer, they think we're weak because we're a girl, and that's not the case," Vickers said. "Gender doesn't make you strong or weak; it's who you are."
Vickers and her female colleagues say each of them helps to bring a different perspective while in the line of duty.
"As a female officer, I think our male counterparts appreciate us because we can de-escalate a situation because we come at a different angle," Vickers said.
The ladies captured that historic moment and shared the picture on the Rusk Police Department's Facebook page -- a picture the ladies hope inspires the next generation of women looking to work in law enforcement.