WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Lieutenant Lynetta Slaton has taken on many duties in the 45 years she has worked for the Bowie Police Department, but one thing has never changed: her love for her job and the city she serves.
“The reason I've been here so long is every day is different. You don't know what to expect from day-to-day. I come back because ‘What's going to happen today?’,” Lieutenant Slaton said.
It may come as a surprise then, that she has not always approach the unexpected with such enthusiasm.
At 19 years old her dad told her to get a summer job. She applied to the Bowie Police Department, and it is safe to say she was nervous. “I was scared to death. I thought ‘There's no way I could do this job.’ But after you get into it and know the people, it's wonderful.”
It was just two years later she became the first ever woman patrol officer for the department. “I was already wearing a uniform but putting on a gun was a different thing. I felt empowered. I felt like I was going to make a difference.”
Making history is not the only milestone that happened in Lynetta’s young life while working at the police department. It is also where she met her husband who was also a police officer.
“We started getting to know each other better and better, and talking about music and things we liked. We were together ever since.”
She and her husband David married and had a son, Bo.
But in 2010 her family experienced tragedy. Her husband was killed in an accident while he was on duty. “I was crushed, devastated,” Slaton remembers, “but had it not been for this place – the people – I don't think I would've survived it.”
It is why till this day she still considers all of those she works with family.
They lean on her as much as she leans on them. Police Chief Guy Green said, “She's just kind of like the momma hen with everyone up here. She tries to keep us in line. We still go to her for everything that we need. Any questions we have she knows how to handle it. She never backs down from a challenge.”
Eventually Slaton felt her skills would be best utilized in dispatch.
Now as the Communication Supervisor, she has not only made it her mission to be the first line of help for the citizens of bowie, but to also be the first line of safety for her officers.
“I like to think that dispatch it the first first responders. We get the call and it's what we tell them that matters. I mean I lost a husband on duty, I want them to come home at night and that's what I do.”
She is always ready to protect and serve, 45 years and counting.
Slaton says she does not plan to retire, she wants to work at the department for as long as she can.