CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- Thursday marked the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month. Eyewitness News went for a ride along with the first-ever Latina to hold the position of deputy chief in Camden County.
A first on the force.
"When you see their faces, see their excitement to say, 'oh I know her and she's the first Latina deputy chief,'" Deputy Chief Janell Simpson said.
Simpson is a hometown hero. She affirms making history means never losing sight of where she came from.
"I was born here, but the culture is still instilled in us," Simpson said.
The 20-year veteran remains true to her Puerto Rican roots.
"My parents, my grandmother, my great grandmother did to make sure that we continue to succeed," Simpson said. "They came over with nothing."
Their vision fuels her on the force. Now the deputy chief is a shining example, especially for the East Camden neighborhood where she grew up.
"I come often and my dad still lives here so I always check up on him," Simpson said.
Capt. Vivian Coley remembers training Simpson.
"We came from a place where there were only a few women in law enforcement," Coley said. "We are interested in making sure more women come on board."
Breaking barriers is exactly what Simpson is doing to ensure she's a first but not the last.
The police department says they're actively recruiting and are hoping to continue hiring more people of color and women to the force.
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