Birmingham Police Department’s first female assistant police chief opening doors for the next generation of women in law enforcement

Women in law enforcement
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:44 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - La’Quaylin Mack made history in 2021 by becoming the first female assistant chief of the Birmingham Police Department and she hasn’t stopped there.

Her goal is to leave the department better than she found it and open doors for the next generation of women in law enforcement

“Resilience and perseverance lie dormant in those who avoid struggle,” says Assistant Chief Mack. “Definitely, my struggles have made me believe that quote because I do feel that I’m very resilient and I’ve been able to persevere.”

Quotes like these remind Assistant Chief Mack of how far she’s come. She grew up in foster care in Indiana and years later lost her baby brother to gun violence. She decided to make the move to Birmingham to change her family’s future.

“A single mother. Six-year-old daughter. Applied for the job, came, drove back and forth for ten hours for the interview,” says Assistant Chief Mack. “For the medical exam and I was offered the position and the Friday before the Monday I was supposed to start I called the supervisor and was like I’m not going to take it. I’m not going to take the job. I’m going to stay in Indiana. And she said, ‘no baby I’ll see you on Monday.’”

The job was a code inspector with Birmingham and once she started, she met officers with the police department who encouraged her to join the academy.

“When I decided to transition from a code inspector to being a police officer,” Mack. “I was still on probation. The hiring sergeant made it very clear to me, ‘do you understand that if you do not pass the academy, you will not have a job?’ So, I’m thinking a single mother new state. Do I take the risk, I took the risk.”

Since joining the department she’s worked at three of the four precincts and served in the community service division. Most recently, she graduated from the FBI’s National Academy. although it hasn’t been easy, she says she’s grateful for the help along the way.

“There were days the lunch lady would come to work early to make sure I could drop my daughter off before school opened so I could make it to roll call,” says Mack. “Some officers helped, and I would pass my daughter off to them.”

Reasons like these are why she believes the Birmingham Police Department is a great place to work — they’re implementing new programs to recruit more officers and assistant chief Mack says she wants her story to inspire more to women apply.

“Recently, the city of Birmingham approved paid parental leave so those who may have recently adopted a child or experienced childbirth they’re able to take 12 weeks of paid leave,” says Mack. “Which is great.”

She says the department will work with you side by side to make sure you’re ready to join the police academy. Right now, they are offering a $5,000 hiring bonus to recruits.

Assistant Chief Mack says she wants her story to inspire more women to apply to the department.

“Fear is a dead end. Don’t let fear be the foundation of making the decision. Find your support group or mentor. Find a sponsor and reach out. Expand your network. Accelerate your learning and prepare for the opportunity.”

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