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Milwaukee police captains make black history

Posted: 7:41 PM, Feb 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-28 20:41:38-05

Two women on the Milwaukee police department's command staff are balancing their executive roles at the office and at home. Their dedication is leading the way to inspire more women of color to join the force.

Captain Cassandra Libal never thought she would have a career in law enforcement, but as a high school senior she decided to join the Milwaukee Police Department as a police aide.

"I want to do the challenge of doing something different and not routinely put up for women," Capt. Libal said.

Now with 24 years on the force she has risen through the ranks to captain.

"It is not just about rank it's about being in the space and owning it in a positive way," she said.

As Commander of Community Outreach and Education, Captain Libal is bridging the gap between the community and police.

Captain Libal is one of only two black female captains currently serving as a member of the department's command staff.

Her counterpart Captain Shunta Boston-Smith oversees the department's forensic unit.

"This was my destiny and my purpose. And 23 years later I see that." Capt. Boston- Smith said.

In the department's 160 year history, there have only been eight black females to assume the rank of captain and two to become assistant chiefs.

"It tells me I have big shoes to fill," Capt. Boston-Smith said.

For Capt. Boston-Smith, community relations is also a big part of her job.

"When I'm out in the community speaking to non-law-enforcement I am a person to them first," she said. "That is what I tried to do because I know that they see my uniform first."

Meanwhile as Captain Libal reviews the pages of the department's history, she feels confident the department's mission to be more inclusive will not stop with her or Captain Boston- Smith.