City officials in Opelika, Alabama, recently honored the city’s first black female police officer with a proclamation of appreciation at a city council meeting.
Lucy Kirk was awarded a proclamation and challenge coins by Mayor Gary Fuller for her ground-breaking career and for paving the way for other African Americans and women in law enforcement.
“On behalf of all the police officers and citizens, I want to present this proclamation of appreciation to Sergeant Lucy Kirk for her outstanding accomplishments in both the Opelika Police Department and for the safety and well-being of the citizens of Opelika,” the mayor stated.
Kirk, now 77, first joined the Opelika Police Department in 1975 as a parking control officer and then became a full-time officer after graduating from Southwest Alabama Training Academy.
She eventually transitioned to working as a traffic officer and was promoted to sergeant before retiring in 1994.
“I’m still a traffic cop; that was in my blood. My heart was traffic,” Kirk told Opelika-Auburn News.
Throughout her career, Kirk gained a wide variety of skills and was trained in pursuit driving, doppler radar operation, hazardous material handling, interrogations, hostage negotiations, EMT skills and more.
“They used to say this is a man’s job, but this is no longer a man’s job,” Kirk said. “This is a job if you can do it.”
Kirk also made history as the first female to be awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary S404 certificate of appreciation for her service.
The Opelika Police Department issued a statement thanking Kirk for her work.
OPD Captain Tony Amerson said Kirk inspires him, and he often goes over to her house to learn from her experiences.
“She has a wealth of knowledge, she’s always willing to share, she has a joyful spirit, and it just makes me feel warm,” Amerson said. “It’s like you’re at grandmother’s house.”
“Thank you, Sergeant Kirk, for paving the way not only for black female officers but all officers at the Opelika Police Department.”
Kirk said law enforcement taught her to be kind to everyone and to learn how to treat people, regardless of their race.
“This is something that you have to want to do,” she said. “You got to do your job, and you got to be courteous to everybody. If you don’t think that you’re qualified to handle different situations, you need to find something else to do.”