By ELIOT DUKE
Trimika McGee made history at an early age. So early in fact, the sheer scale of what she accomplished didn’t really strike her until nearly three decades later.
McGee in 1992 became the first black woman at the Dunn Police Department, opening a trail that many would follow in the years that followed, not only locally but across the country.
At the time, McGee just set his sights on something and chased after it. Making history or inspiring others never really motivated her as a 23-year-old to consider getting into law enforcement.
“I like helping people,” McGee said. “I decided to do it and I did. I was just trying to learn my way.
McGee, 51, served the DPD for two years before moving on to the rest of his life. She now works as an addiction clinician, modeling and acting aside, and still enjoys chasing after dreams she is dedicated to.
“I couldn’t imagine all those years doing the things that I do now,” McGee said. “You are never too old, you are never too young if you think about it.
McGee’s time at Dunn slowly faded and she carried those experiences with her, often reflecting on the lessons learned from such a unique perspective. It was only recently that McGee let shine through the importance of his decision from all those years ago.
“It’s amazing,” McGee said. “I never considered it to be such an important event. I knew I wrote the story, but until this last year when I reposted the article, I never really watched it like I should have watched it a long time ago. It’s an honor and I was really lucky to have this opportunity.
After a year of widespread social unrest aimed largely at law enforcement, McGee said that seeing the state of the country today is bleak and people need to find a way to treat others with respect.
“As a young black woman, I saw a lot of different things when it came to race,” McGee said. “It taught me a lot. Things have changed a lot over the years and it’s allowed me to see how people treat you based on your skin color and gender. Here we are in 2021, and you are watching how people still treat each other, and it’s heartbreaking. We should love each other no matter, black, white, purple, whatever. It’s like history repeats itself instead of getting better. People have to change their hearts You don’t love your brother and sister like you should.
Even though she left her law enforcement career in the past, McGee has noticed a change over the decades as more women have entered the field. She admitted that being a police officer in her hometown offered its own challenges, but the chance to serve has proven to be invaluable.
“It’s not like back then,” McGee said. “There are a lot of female police officers and a lot of women working in the police force compared to when I was a police officer. It has changed enormously. The blessing was that I was the first black female police officer. This has led to showing people that they can do whatever they want. It was difficult to be a police officer in a city where I was born. That was the hardest part about it.
McGee’s new career has kept her close to serving. Much like her time in the police force, McGee sees too often how some things are color blind, like drug addiction.
“It doesn’t discriminate,” McGee said. “No one I work with told me that they woke up one day and wanted to become a drug addict. Addiction can happen to anyone. It is only by the grace of God that I am not addicted. I haven’t lived a perfect life. Everyone did something they shouldn’t have done. We don’t know how they got there or what brought them there.
There are times when history presents itself in an obvious way. Other times the time comes later. McGee lived her story 29 years ago, but it’s only recently that she has cherished the moment.
Eliot Duke can be reached at [email protected] or 910-230-2038.
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