The Dallas ISD Police Department announced its first female command staff officer in the history of the department during a promotion ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 20. Terri Thomas officially received the promotion from sergeant to lieutenant.
Thomas began her career in Dallas ISD in 1994 as a truancy officer and later elevated her role within the force as a police officer in 2000.
Lt. Thomas comes from a family of law enforcement officers one of which includes her mother, Mattie Thomas, who is also noted for making history in policing. Mattie Thomas was the first female deputy for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department hired by former Constable Joe Bagby.
Lt. Thomas is charged with the department’s support division, which oversees the criminal investigation unit, property room and gang unit.
To be considered for a lieutenant position within the Dallas ISD Police Department, an officer must meet certain criteria. The process entails a written exam, scenario based prompts of incidents on how to appropriately handle extreme situations, and an oral board interview comprised of members from outside agencies.
Thomas said she is eager to continue the work being done to keep students, teachers and staff safe, but she also recognizes officers have a duty to serve the entire community.
“We have to have a relationship with our community so they can feel like they can trust us, so they can feel like they support us and that we support them,” said Thomas. “Especially in Dallas ISD, [parents and community members]have to feel like we have their children’s best interest at heart, as well as our staff.”