MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The new police chief of Morrisville is boosting the ranks of female-led police departments.
Patrice Andrews, sworn-in Tuesday, is the fourth African-American female police chief in the region.
“There are not many female law enforcement officers in this country, and certainly in the state of North Carolina,” Andrews said. “I think in this area, we are doing very well, all of the departments combined with hiring female officers.”
Andrews joins a group of female African-American police chiefs in the area, along with the chiefs of Raleigh, Durham and North Carolina Central University.
“I think it’s a huge honor, especially given who my fellow chiefs are,” Andrews said.
Some Morrisville residents said they are proud of the accomplishment.
“I’m a veteran, I’m ex-military police myself, so having a good strong female role model here is one of the best things we could’ve had in a long time,” said Kelly Weinberger, who lives in Morrisville.
Michelle Mandolesi of Morrisville said she also thinks it’s awesome. “I find that very inspiring for any female officer, that that is something they can strive to be,” Mandolesi said.
Andrews, who was a commander with the Durham criminal investigations division, said although there’s still a lack of females in law enforcement, she has noticed a change in her 20 years on the force.
“Being a female in law enforcement, certainly it has gotten better, much better over the years,” Andrews said. “Men are not as archaic. There are not as many horror stories.”
While she has plans to maintain the low crime rate in Morrisville, she hopes to inspire other young women.
Andrews said she hopes to not only lead a great department but to also be a mentor to young women and change the minds of those who think women can’t lead in this job.
The new chief is all about trying things differently. She said she wants to shake things up. After all, it’s been 10 years since the town had a new chief.
“I bring the experience to let’s move this police department into a broader vision,” Andrews said. “Technology, some new initiatives, some things that I experienced in Durham.”
Andrews says the three other African-American female chiefs have been supportive of her journey into this new position.
The chief will have a public swearing-in ceremony next Thursday, June 16.