LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When Abby Brooks puts on her badge everyday, she does so with a smile.
Brooks is the newest Lufkin police officer after graduating from the Angelina College Police Academy earlier this month. Brooks went to the academy after serving five years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"In the Marine Corps brotherhood is everything," Brooks said. "You are always looking out for the man to your left and your right, which is something I knew I could find in law enforcement."
At the age of 30, Brooks went through the police academy at Angelina College. Not only did she make it through, she was the valedictorian. She is also the first female officer hired by the department in the last several years. Brooks said some may focus on her gender but she is not concerned.
"There were a few jokes," Brooks said. "As far as we see it, it's not male, female or anything like that. We all want to be officers."
Becoming a police officer is not easy. Brooks took on the challenge and blew it out of the water.
"If it was easy, then everybody would do it," Brooks said. "That's why I chose the Marines and the Lufkin Police Department because I knew they just didn't take anybody."
Violence and criticism has grown against law enforcement over the last couple of years. Because of the concerns many departments have faced a hiring issue.The images of protestors clashing with police did not scare Brooks away. They only became fuel for her desire.
"If anything else it was a driving force for me," Brooks said. "Even if I can just affect one person into thinking law enforcement is not bad and there is no reason for someone to look at a uniform and have hatred towards them."
Brooks doesn't want to be known as a female officer just as an officer.
"It's a matter of whatever you want to do go out and do it," Brooks said. "If you want something bad enough, you are going to make it happen."