OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Lateka Alexander is a mother, wife, and proud daughter.
She’s also the first, and only, African American female trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
“My family kind of asked me are you sure this is what you want to do? And I was like yeah! I can do it!” said Alexander.
She says she was convinced to join by Jerry Cason, who went on to be the patrol’s first African American police chief.
“He would approach myself and another classmate on a regular basis every class, and finally I gave in, went on a ride-along… and the rest is history,” she said.
Alexander graduated from the academy back in 2001 and has been a trooper ever since.
“You’ve got to have thick skin. You must have thick skin and it actually helps me in my personal life too,” she said.
She’s one out of 15 total female troopers, and one out of 28 total African American troopers.
It’s been a tough road, people haven’t always been friendly.
“There was something as simple as someone was here to train us on some equipment and there were four male troopers standing there and the guy shook everybody’s hand except mine … and I was like ‘wow,’” she said. “I just said ‘excuse me’ and that’s all I had to say and he realized and apologized. He was very apologetic.”
She also says being a role model isn’t just a choice.
“When you’re in this position and people look up to you, there are little girls and little kids period, that are always in awe when they see someone in uniform,” she said.
Lateka was born to do this and hopes to inspire other minority women to follow in her footsteps.
“At the end of the day people are not going to always like you, people are not always going to be for you but as long as you love yourself and you’re for yourself you’ll be okay,” she said.