East TN law enforcement agencies celebrating women who serve, protect

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – They wear a uniform and a badge everyday, taking the oath to serve and protect our communities.

On Thursday, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. celebrated that work with National Women in Law Enforcement Day.

We wanted to put a spotlight on their work. Women officers with the Knoxville Police Department say this recognition means a lot and they hope it inspires other women and girls.

For eight years, Officer Amy Boyd has been patrolling Knoxville, “I have the opportunity to go out on a daily basis and save lives or make a difference in someone’s life.”

Like any job, law enforcement as a woman comes with challenges.

“When you hear police officer, I guess, in most people’s mind they automatically assume male,” added Officer Boyd.

But wearing a badge and being a woman makes no difference.

Officer Boyd says she’s simply a police officer.

“If you truly put your mind to it, you can do anything and be just as successful as a male,” Boyd said. “You come in here thinking ‘Oh no. Am I going to be able to do that?’ But honestly, training is a lot of self discipline, you learn to overcome emotions, you learn to overcome your weaknesses.”

At Safety City, Officer Lori Banks continues her 17-year career with the Knoxville Police Department.

“I was in elementary school and I think it was career week. The officer showed up, he brought his patrol car, opened it up and let us sit in the front and the back. I still remember that to this day and I think it had a huge impact on me to think, ‘Wow that’s just amazing. I want to be him one day.'”

As an adult, there’s another inspiration and mentor at KPD, Chief Eve Thomas.

“It’s amazing. She was actually my sergeant for a number of years when I worked on patrol. She’s respected among her peers here. It’s a little bit of pride knowing where she started and where she ended up. It’s a great feeling,” said Officer Banks.

“She definitely has been an inspiration along the way and in my career. We have a lot of awesome women in leadership and I look up to each of them,” added Officer Boyd.

On National Women in Law Enforcement Day, Officer Banks says there’s a message for every woman, young or old.

“You dream to be Chief of Police one day? You can do it. You have proof. We have Eve Thomas. She’s our Chief and you can be Chief of Police,” Banks said. “You can be President. You work hard, set that goal and do everything you can to reach that goal.”

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