Photo credit : Meghan Finnerty
Tiffani Gatson of Greece, New York has just made history as her city’s first ever African American woman police officer.
At just 25 years old, Gatson tells the Democrat & Chronicle that she can’t believe she’s making history with her new position. “It’s a good feeling,” she says, “it’s a positive image and I love being able to do that.”
Gatson grew up in Rochester, New York and moved to the city of Greece about three years ago. She says her interest in becoming a police officer started in high school, and since then, she’s stayed focus on making that dream a reality. After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in criminal justice, Gatson worked a few odd jobs before joining the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at the local jail. After working in that position for just four months, she received a call to join the Greece Police Department.
“I’ve wanted this for so long, for it to be finally happening is truly a blessing for me,” she says.
Currently, the Greece Police Department, which was started in 1932, is made up of 100 members. It has two African American male police officers, 16 female police officers, and before Gatson there were zero African American female officers.
Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan says his department is constantly looking for ways to diversify its workforce. Now, with her new position, Gatson says she hopes she can help the department with doing just that.
“Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, whatever, I feel like having diversity is a great dynamic to have in any department,” she says.