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Female Trooper Set To Make N.C. Highway Patrol History

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The State Highway Patrol is definitely dominated by men. There are 30 female troopers compared to 1,400 men. The first female trooper hit the roads back in 1980 and now there is about to be another first for the women in the patrol.

On Monday, Patricia Poole will become the first female lieutenant in Highway Patrol history.

"I came up against some hurdles, but it didn't stop me. It didn't slow me down," she said. "I think that women on the patrol has broke a lot of barriers and they've proved, and I feel like I've proved the right that I deserved to be here."

Poole entered the Patrol Academy in 1986 with the goal of becoming one of the first female officers. Sgt. Alvin Clement was there.

"You see this little scrawny female down there and the first thing you think, 'little small,' you know, maybe not be able to handle it," he said. "But it wasn't too long before it was obvious that she was tough. She was smart and you knew she was not only going to make it, but she was going to excel."

Seventeen years later, Poole is on the verge of breaking the glass ceiling. Poole's peers see this promotion as the next step.

"I wouldn't be surprised at all if she was the first female commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol one day. [I] wouldn't be surprised at all," Clement said.

Forty-five other troopers will be promoted on Monday. A total of nine, including Poole, will become lieutenants.