Sheriff's office names 1st woman deputy chief in 200 years

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A black Alabama woman in law enforcement continues to make history.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that Felicia Rucker-Summerlin was named deputy chief, the first woman in that position in the agency's 200-year history, news outlets reported.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,’’ Rucker-Summerlin said. “I was shocked. When you think 200 years, and here I am.”

Rucker-Summerlin earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Columbia Southern University and she joined the sheriff's office in 1990. She was promoted to sergeant in 2004 supervising the Corrections Division, Patrol division and Identity Theft Divisions. She was then promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and in 2016 became the first black female captain, receiving an NAACP honor.

Rucker-Summerlin told AL.Com that she took advantage of every educational and leadership training opportunity and worked a variety of assignments. She said she took steps to make sure no one could tell her she wasn't qualified for any position.

“I didn’t want (it) just because I was female or just because I was black," Rucker-Summerlin said. "I wanted it because I’m qualified.”

Rucker-Summerlin said she tells all the female deputies in the department to do all they can to be the best.

“I’m a prime example that if you keep trying, it will come to you,’’ Rucker-Sumerlin said. “Never give up.”