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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Another glass ceiling shattered Thursday when a veteran officer became the first woman promoted to the command ranks of the Dallas ISD Police Department.

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When she was Sgt. Terri Thomas, she tells us it was only when she applied for the rank of lieutenant that she realized she would be the first woman to join the the agency’s command staff. It’s something she says comes as a surprise to a lot of women outside the department.

“They actually are shocked when they go, oh how many other female supervisors do you have or detectives? This is it. I’m it,” Lt. Thomas said.

Every time a woman becomes the first to take any high office it can be an inspiration. Seeing Dallas elect a female sheriff and a female district attorney motivated her, but it was her mother who served as her role model.

“Oh, it’s been amazing. I’m so proud of her to make it this far,” Mattie Thomas said.

Now retired, Mattie Thomas says it was an honor to be the first African-American woman to serve as deputy constable in Dallas County in the seventies. She went on to serve as a Dallas sheriff’s deputy.

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“When I’m out in the field, little girls come up and ask me, how do you be a constable? Like that, and I just explain to them, finish school, work hard, finish school, be good, and you can be anything you want to be,” Mattie Thomas said.

As her daughter proved that to be true, it was Mattie who celebrated her own birthday by pinning the badge on the new lieutenant.

“That was so special to get that from my mom,” Terri Thomas said.

Now Lt. Thomas hopes she will not only pave the way for other female police officers, but also for young girls still students in the school district she serves.

“I think they have an opportunity now to see ’cause I’m homegrown. I’m a DISD product, and I think they can see, well if she can do it, I can do it,” she said.

Lt. Thomas previously served as a detective. She will now oversee the detectives within the department.

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