Newly minted Officer Amber Blackmire was the only woman in her police academy class this past summer, she now joins eight other women who are sworn officers at the Hagerstown Police Department.
"I went in telling them that, you know, I want to be able to hold my own and I want them to know I have them back and they have mine," said Officer Blackmire.
As a new recruit, Officer Blackmire said she still has a lot to learn but she's thankful for the women trailblazers who've paved the way before her.
"It's a great opportunity for me to observe hard work and dedication moving through the ranks and you know with any field, and any career, you have to work hard and having those females to be able to go to and say you know how did you get there, listen to their experiences, listen to their suggestions," said Officer Blackmire.
One of those trailblazers is Lt. Rebecca Fetchu, a 14 year member of the force, who progressed from officer to sergeant to now patrol lieutenant. As patrol lieutenant she supervises 55 officers and eight sergeants on a regular basis. It's an accomplishment she's proud of but she believes the department can do better.
"But I think we have a long ways to go in terms of where we need to be with women in law enforcement and in particular with supervisory positions," said Lt. Fetchu.
As the second female lieutenant in the department's history, Fetchu joins a small rank of pioneers. It's a path she hopes more women officers consider taking in the future.
"I think that would be fantastic. It's up to each individual as they come through to determine," said Lt. Fetchu. "Some women their path doesn't go down the supervisory road and that's fine. Maybe they enjoy what they're doing but it would be nice to see someone come and set into the supervisory ranks."
As the department continues to grow -- many hope more women progress through the ranks-- following the path their pioneers paved before them.