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Kristen Ziman Nominated As Aurora's First Female Police Chief

CHICAGO (CBS) -- West suburban Aurora is poised to make history next week when the City Council votes whether to approve the first female police chief in the city's history.

Cmdr. Kristen Ziman joined the Aurora Police Department as a cadet in 1991.

"At that time there were no females in rank whatsoever, so it never occurred to me that it was a possibility," she said.

On Thursday, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner announced he was recommending the City Council approve her as the city's next police chief, replacing retiring Chief Gregory Thomas.

Ziman never dreamed she would be in a supervisory position, much less the top spot, especially after she failed the sergeant's exam.

"The whole point of it is to get back up, and ask yourself what you've learned from that, and move forward," Ziman said.

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She later became the first female lieutenant on the department, and after 25 years on the force, she'll now be the top cop for the second largest police department in the state.

"It is a big deal when a woman reaches that pinnacle moment, you know?" she said.

The commander said she felt uncomfortable in the past as she reached various gender milestones on the force, but now she puts it in perspective and embraces it.

"2015 has been the year of identity. You know, how do you identify yourself? You know, and I always tell people, 'You know, I'm a female, but I identify as a police officer,' and that's what it's all about for us," she said.

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