Watch CBS News

Detroit Public Safety Foundation highlights women in blue

Detroit Public Safety Foundation highlighting women in blue
Detroit Public Safety Foundation highlighting women in blue 03:35

(CBS DETROIT) - On Thursday, the Detroit Public Safety Foundation celebrates female first responders from the Detroit Police and Fire Departments during its 11th annual Women in Blue event.

Detective Melinda Cook, a Detroit native, is one of this year's nominees.

"Growing up, I used to want to be a homicide detective, but life changes," Cook said.

Cook has a pretty unique story when it comes to joining the Detroit Police Department. She was first a teacher, then a customer service representative, and before applying to the Detroit Police Academy at age 39 and officially becoming an officer at age 40, she worked as a background investigator, conducting federal background checks for people applying to work in federal buildings.

"I went from heels to oxfords to combat boots," she said. "It was very hard. The first month, I think I cried like, 'I'm not going back; I can't do this.'"

Cook stayed the course because she said her 'why' was bigger than any excuse to walk away.

"I had my daughter. That was my biggest motivation. I didn't want to quit in front of her," she said.

Cook didn't quit, and after just five years on the force, she's already moved up the ranks, going from officer to detective assigned to the second precinct's shooting team on Detroit's west side, the same area where she was raised. 

Cook is not only a detective; she's also a mentor, a coach, a mom, a wife, and now a woman in blue receiving recognition for her dedication and diligence in all facets of her life.

"I just want to be that one that made a difference," she said. "I want to be the one who made a change."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.