Syracuse's first Black female police officer continues as a role model for young women

Cassandra Jones-Ingram is Syracuse's first Black female police officer. Now retired, she still gives back to the community.

Cassandra Jones-Ingram is a pioneer, as Syracuse's First African American Woman police officer. At the time, she didn't realize she was a part of history, she just wanted a job. "I didn't intend on being the first African-American female," Ingram says "it just happened that way."

At the age of 24, the Syracuse native entered the Academy. That was in 1981. She had already been working as a Community Officer for a year.

Throughout her time on the force, Cassandra admits it wasn't easy. In fact, she had to deal with dilemmas on the streets and within the walls of the police department. "At the time, I don't think some of the men expected women to be there. They thought we should be at home, have babies, you know that sort of thing."

Ingram says she felt as if she was hidden from the public once she got pregnant with her first child. "People [in the community] forgot I was on the police force, she says. "They stuck me in the basement." After her treatment during her first two pregnancies, Cassandra chose to hide her third pregnancy from her job, for fear of being removed from the community.

While there were some challenges in her career, Ingram says she enjoyed her job most when she was able to be out in her community. She had the opportunity to serve as Officer Friendly, D.A.R.E. officer, and at the Eastside Store Front.

In 2001, Cassandra retired after "20 years, 10 months and 29 days." She credits her faith in God and the support of her loving family for helping her stay motivated to do what she was called to do.

Since her retirement from Syracuse Police, she has continued to give back to her community through public speaking engagements.

As for advice, Cassandra belives no matter where you work there are going to be struggles, but you just have to hang in there and push through for a bigger purpose.

~Photojournalist Quindell Williams