FLINT, MI — Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson took time at his weekly press conference Wednesday, March 10, to recognize women in honor of Women’s History Month.
The sheriff’s office gifted yellow roses and a sheriff’s challenge coin to multiple women in recognition of their work in the local law enforcement community.
Cora Gregory, the first female certified police officer in Genesee County, was recognized by the sheriff for her work through multiple decades. Gregory has been serving as a Genesee District Court Magistrate since 1998, Swanson said.
Swanson called Dr. Avon Burns, a retired Mott Community College criminal justice professor, “an incredible trailblazer in his life.”
He credited her with encouraging women and minorities to pursue police work.
“As I was preparing for this event, I was reminded that nearly 50 years ago I was assigned to a police department at the very time where they were first putting women in uniform,” Burns said. “Some of you may remember that a horrible incident occurred between two police officers — one that looked like me and one that looked like you, sheriff.
“Both survived this horrible incident. Some thought this was just an isolated incident between two individuals,” she said. “Others, however, felt that this was a reflection of a much greater problem that we had with accepting the expanding role of women in law enforcement. This placed a renewed emphasis upon training and education and I was very proud to be part of that movement.”
Kariann Nelson was recognized for her work as the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office’s first female captain.
“When I hired in here, I wanted nothing more than to be a paramedic at this office. I realized that dream. I put myself through paramedic school and I became a paramedic. That wasn’t enough. I wanted more. So I tested and I studies and I became a sergeant,” she said. “That wasn’t enough. I wanted more. I was blessed to be assigned to the detective’s bureau where I was assigned to investigate numerous crimes — CSCs, human trafficking, elder abuse. And I wanted more. I wanted to go further. I tested and became a lieutenant of the detective bureau. I wanted more. I can do more. I have more to offer.”
Nelson was appointed as a captain of law enforcement in February of 2020.
She said she is excited to see more women entering the law enforcement field. Nelson also encouraged more woman to follow this trend.
“Women have a way of doing things that men don’t. Women have a way of talking to people that men don’t, and vice versa. Some people relate more to women, especially when you have crimes of a domestic nature or crimes involving children,” Nelson said. “A lot of the female victims of domestic situations respond better to female investigators or female interviewers.”
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