The first and only African American female Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper has been on the force for almost 19 years now. Trooper Lateka Alexander said when she joined OHP in 2001, she didn't think nearly two decades later she'd still be the only black female trooper.
But she said she's now a role model and said this is her calling. When Alexander was taking summer classes at Langston University, she noticed someone at the school wearing their trooper uniform. That man was the first black chief for OHP and he had been recruiting her.
“He would approach myself and another classmate on a regular basis every class,” said Alexander. “And finally, I gave in, went on a ride along and the rest is history.”
She officially became a trooper in October of 2001, making history as the first black female on patrol then and now.
“My hope is there will be more minority women especially that join so that we can make up what our communities are,” said Alexander.
OHP currently has 15 female troopers and Alexander said she's always kept her eye open for other females to sign up. However, she said being a trooper is not an easy task.
“It's hard, it's not always easy, it's not always comfortable,” explained Alexander. “But you don't grow when you're comfortable, you grow when you're uncomfortable.”
Alexander said you have to be mentally tough. She admits part of her uncomfortable experiences have come from the way people viewed her as a black female, but it's only made her stronger.
“At the end of the day people are not always going to like you, they're not always going be for you,” said Alexander. “As you love yourself and are for yourself, you're going to be okay.”
The upcoming class for OHP will include 97 recruits, including 4 females and one black male. It's the largest class since the first two.