By Monique Jones
The Birmingham Times
Bareneise Dixon has made history by becoming the first African American female major in the Mobile Police Department.
Her promotion Friday, she said, was part of a legacy of progress.
“I…have to acknowledge the efforts of those that paved the way in order for me to obtain this rank,” she said. “You don’t get where you are by yourself. I’ve been honored to work with a lot of people in the Mobile Police Department, some that are still here, some that are not here.”
Dixon, a police officer for 28 years, started her career as a police operator in Saraland, Ala. “…[I]t is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “Public service is a passion of mine.”
The news comes at a time when the department is struggling to recruit officers, particularly African American officers. Mobile Police Chief James Barber told WKRG that 12 to 15 percent of the department’s officers leave each year, and blames police brutality protests for the lack of recruitment.
“When you villainize a department or agency, it hurts our minority recruitment,” he said. “So, the ability to diversify our recruitment classes is increasingly difficult.”
Lizetta McConnell, president of Mobile’s NAACP chapter, told the station that the problem stems from the department’s history in black communities.
“If [African Americans] saw [police] in the community doing good tings like what we saw after this big rise in police brutality against African Americans, and they saw you more in the community and not to quiet us down…That’s how you begin to build trust.”