Bedford Police Dept. hires first African American female police officer
BEDFORD, Va. (WSET) -- Officer Urshulla Meade, 22, serves in the National Guard and said she decided to take the next step in serving the community.
The dream came true when she was sworn in this week, as the first African American female police officer in Bedford.
"It's cool. I didn't know when I applied for the job. I didn't find out until like a few weeks into my ride-arounds, but it's awesome," she said, regarding the significance of her new role.
ABC 13's Valencia Jones tagged along during her first shift both as an officer and on the force on November 2, 2018.
"I'm excited for Urshulla Meade to start with us, she was sworn in yesterday," said Police Chief Todd Foreman.
He said one of his goals is to have a more diverse police force.
"We're always looking for the best candidates, and we want it to be diverse to match our community," he said.
Foreman said, of the 26 officers he currently has, two are African American, including Officer Meade, one is Asian, and the rest are White.
He also said African Americans make up roughly 20% of Bedford's population.
"We gotta make sure that we keep the right people in the right positions, because we want to hold our officers accountable and make sure that they meet our core values," Foreman said.
"With me being an African American female on the force, I can kind of help bridge the gap," said Meade. "My younger siblings' view of police officers wasn't the best, like you know, 'Cops are coming, run,' that sort of thing. But now, they're like, 'My sister's an officer,' so it's cool that they look up to me and maybe their friends will, too."
Meade said she plans to work her way up the ranks, while continuing to serve the community.