FACEBOOK COMMUNITY: Alice Stebbins Wells was one of the first female police officers in America when she was hired in 1910 in Los Angeles, and she laid the foundation for other women to enter law enforcement.
One of those women who followed Wells’ steps is Officer Tracy Holder, age 38. She has served as a police officer in a rural Georgia community, and is currently an officer in a central Georgia town. Born in Texas, Tracy has lived in Texas, Germany and Georgia to name a few places.
With just 10 classes away from receiving her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Tracy, a mom of two and a wife, believes her role as a police officer is a calling.
She told The Murphy Gazette, “I don’t think you choose your career … I believe that it is a part of you. It is a calling, whether people want to believe that or not. I have always wanted this in my life. I was going to go at it the military route, but life happened and I wasn’t able to right after high school.”
“With all the other jobs I have had, there was still something missing, I wanted to do more. I have worked for the medical examiner in Houston County doing autopsy cases, but wanted to do more,” Tracy stated.
She added, “I worked for Houston County Sheriff’s Office as the secretary of investigations for seven years, but, again I wanted to do more. While in that position I did help with a lot of cases, but wasn’t able to be hands on like I wanted to. So, I kept going until it all fell into place.”
Tracy paused. “But I didn’t lose sight of the goal, and at 34-years-old, I went through mandate to make the dream come true.”
Of her job, she said, “There are no typical days in this career … you don’t have any day that is like the one before it.”
“You don’t know if you are going to be dealing with pullovers that result in just citations or warnings or if it will end up with everyone in the vehicle locked up because they have warrants,” Tracy explained. “You don’t know if a shots fired call is going to end up being nothing or if someone is going to be hurt when you arrive. Same goes with domestic calls, you never know how it will go when you arrive on scene.”
“I want to stress that even though we all know that there are days that can go from calm to chaos in an instant,” she reflected. “We do this, because it’s what we love. I have lost brothers in blue in the short almost five years I have been doing this, and it never gets easier.”
Tracy continued, “Those guys didn’t go to work thinking that they wouldn’t be going home … they were just doing their jobs, and paid the ultimate price. leaving their loved ones behind to feel the pain.”
“Unfortunately, we can’t think about that every single minute or we wouldn’t be able to get our jobs done,” she said. “But, I promise there are times our hearts are racing, and the adrenaline is pumping, and we don’t know what is going to happen next.”
Tracy emphasized that emotions do play a part. “I feel bad that my family worries about me … I know it’s not fair or easy to love me with the job I do, but I am grateful each day for those who love me.”
“I have seen people dying, I have seen people who have been beat, I have seen children scared and crying. Through it all I try to be the calm in their storm, and do what I can to make it better.”
Tracy added, “Being a female officer can be tricky, but it has not been a bad experience for me personally. The guys I have worked with all tend to look at me like a kid sister they have to protect,
t was addressed,
it was addressed,
but this also makes me want to prove myself that much more.”
“I don’t want them thinking I can’t take care of myself, but I do appreciate having their backup when needed. I feel like I have to hold my emotions in a lot because not only do I not want the guys to see me upset … I also do not want the public to see me upset, but I am human and at times it does happen,” Tracy said.
“Thankfully, I have not had to deal with too much negative because I am a female,” she stated. “I have been given a lot of respect. Now, there were a couple of times where I had to remind those who were working with me that I was the senior officer on shift, and I made the calls for the shift.”
after it was addressed, it was over. I do get told on stops and on
calls sometimes by females and males that I am too pretty to be a
cop, which is a bit irritating because I do not agree and do not
think that looks has anything to do with being a cop,” Tracy
“Going through mandate as a female was a bit intimidating, because it seemed like things I was having insecurities about, like shooting, the guys were making look so easy,” she said. “But we all came together and made it work, and everyone passed. So, I may not have all the skills that some of the guys had from the start, but I am quick to learn and will ask questions in a heartbeat.”
Tracy said, “I wish that I could really make people see how twisted the media has things-that all police officers are not bad, racist or going to hurt people. This is a controversial issue though especially now.”
“But, I go out of my way daily to make sure people see that I am not like the media would like everyone to believe. I do my job how it is supposed to be done, and I lock up those who break the law. I do not come to work wanting to be rude or mean to everyone,” she stated. “I give what I get that also applies to respect. If you give me respect, I do the same. We are all human, yes, in this career, people expect us to be so much … and we do try to be all that, plus more for our families, but we are still humans and do make mistakes.”
To be able to do her job adequately and utilize her compassion, and servant heart, Tracy relies on her own upbringing.
“I was raised by a single mother, who did not have much to give my sister and I. There were times we didn’t know where the next meal was going to come from, but thankfully my grandma and other family would step in and make sure we were okay,” Tracy said.
“Growing up without, and being told that I would not amount to much, made me want to fight to make that not true, and I have,” she stated. “With all I have been through, my main focus was my children, and them not seeing me give up. I also try to show them that it is most important to show kindness to those who need it.”
“I see those going without now, and I help when I can, whether it be they just need some extra blankets or food, because they sleep mostly in their vehicles, or maybe it’s a group of children who don’t have a basketball net on their hoop,” she stated.
Tracy added, “I’ve helped a young homeless man get a place to stay and a job with the help of those around the community. I do things like this, because I know how it feels to have people give up on you, and think you are worthless than they are, just because they have money and you might not.”
“I help those that I can to make a difference for them, to show them they are not alone, not to be recognized by the public. I feel like those who are constantly telling everyone how much they do all the time are doing those things for the wrong reasons. I cannot tell you how much I have spent to help others, because I do not keep up with it.”
She stated, “But those who I have helped see me as someone they can count on, and if they need anything they know I am here, and that is an amazing feeling! Adding to it that they start to see that all police officers are not the way the media says they are is a huge bonus, but I am like this without or without the uniform on.”
In her free time, Tracy said, “I read, write sometimes, paint rocks that I hide around town, or in nearby towns. I love doing charity work, and figuring out things to do for those in need. Like for Christmas, I am trying to get it together to help with the Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse as well as Adopt a Grandparent from nearby nursing homes.”
She said, “Sometimes, the ideas are great, but they are big, and it takes more work or manpower than I can do alone though … but I still try!”
In defining the word, hope, Tracy thought for a moment. Then she shared her idea. “Hope … wanting what you are a part of is worth something, and that it is seen as a good thing … knowing that there is something better out there, even through all the ugly that there is in the world.”
Tracy concluded by offering words of wisdom. “Even when things seem like they are falling a part, don’t give up. If you give up, it gives others the satisfaction of saying that they knew you couldn’t make it. Keep fighting and showing you are not one to be doubted!”
There are good cops out there, people … good news, good people …