(WABC) — One woman is breaking barriers in law enforcement this Black History Month.
Gloria Frank has become the Port Authority Police Department’s first woman 3-star chief in the agency’s nearly 100 year history.
How things have changed over the years — in 1915, ideal recruits were “husky men.” But now Frank is the agency’s first female 3-star chief and she is just getting started.
“It’s the right time, I’m here now, I know I will certainly make a difference,” Frank said.
In her Class of ’98, there were 53 recruits and only three were women.
“We kind of like, formed a pact, so we relied on each other a lot, supported each other, saying, we to can do this,” Frank said.
Those are the pearls of wisdom she is passing along to today’s officers who were just sworn in — 24 women in a class of 129.
But Frank acknowledges there is still more work to be done.
“We had to do things differently in how we recruit, trying to bring in more women, bring in more Brown and Black and others within the department,” she said.
Getting to this point in her career has been more of a winding path than a straight forward journey.
“Never wanted to be a police officer, never dreamt of being a police officer,” Frank said.
She studied sociology at Hunter College and pharmaceuticals at LIU. Then a friend encouraged her to consider the Port Authority.
“When I read the qualifications, I can do this, I can do it, I can run as fast and do pushups, sit-ups,” she said.
What was a passing thought turned into a passion with peaks and valleys, including the day the department lost 37 people.
But it is her unwavering drive and duty to serve that has landed Chief Frank where no other woman has ever been in the nearly 100-year history of the Port Authority.
“The sky is the limit, knowing I worked hard to accomplish this rank, I’m unstoppable,” she said.