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Women's History Month: 'I Always Had To Be 110%': First Female Police Chief In Miami Gardens Proud To Clear Path For Others

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – CBS4 continues celebrating Women's History Month throughout the month of March by shining a spotlight on women shattering the glass ceiling in our community, including the top cop in Miami Gardens, Chief Delma Noel-Pratt.

Chief Noel-Pratt, who has been on the job for the past four years and has a long law enforcement career, said it can all be traced back to her experience as a crime victim early on in life.

"I was approximately 9 years old when that occurred," recalled Noel-Pratt who was just a little girl living in Detroit. "My sister and I were going from a local store to our house when we got robbed. He approached us and he hit my sister, she dropped the candy and he took the money and just ran."

She wasn't hurt, but the incident steered Noel-Pratt into law enforcement.

Today, she's the chief of the Miami Gardens Police Department with more than 230 sworn officers and 130 civilian personnel.

The first woman to head the department is married to a CSI supervisor at the City of Miami and has three daughters.

"One happens to be 22 years of age and just graduated from a local university. My second daughter is 20 years old and goes to a local college. And I have the diva of the family who is 17 and she is getting ready to graduate from a local high school," she said.

Like many women, Noel-Pratt tries to strike a balance between work and family.

"There's a lot of times when I leave work that I think, 'what do I cook for dinner?' I am the mother of 3 kids and I have to satisfy the needs that they have."

Noel-Pratt's first job in law enforcement was at the City of Miami, where she was a public service aide. After graduating from the police academy, she joined the Miami-Dade Police Department where she rose through the ranks to become division chief of north operations.

In 2017, she became the first female chief of the Miami Gardens police force.

Over the years, she's gained the respect from male counterparts, but also learned she had to be on her 'A' game at all times.

"Everything that I did I knew was going to be closely scrutinized so rather than be 100 percent I always had to be 110 percent," she explained.

It's hard work and there is a lot of pressure, but being the first and opening a path for others makes it all worthwhile.

"I was just very proud and glad that I can be a role model for my 3 daughters, and two, that I can be a role model for other little girls out there."

Noel-Pratt has as at least one more career goal to accomplish. She wants to enroll in law school to get her law degree.

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