Teri Tate is the first full-time female officer in the history of the Houston Police Department.

For the first time in the history of the agency, the Houston Police Department has a full-time female officer.

Teri Tate, 21, began duties on Monday, Feb. 17. She is a native of Rolla and a recent graduate of the Missouri Law Enforcement Training Academy. In becoming a police officer, Tate is following in the footsteps of several family members.

“I always liked hearing their stories,” she said.

A graduate of Rolla High School, Tate attended East Central College in Union for about three years before entering the academy last August.

She was hired to replace Cpl. David Kidwell (who is retiring after 34 years with the HPD) and was one of three finalists interviewed for the position, said HPD Chief Tim Ceplina.

“I think she will be a welcome addition to our department,” Ceplina said. “She’s very energetic and enthusiastic about starting her career, and she’s positive and eager to learn. And she had high marks at the academy and was highly regarded by academy staff.”

Tate, who is single, is now the third full-time female law officer working in Texas County, joining Texas County Sheriff’s Department deputy Melissa Emerick and Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Catherine Goodwin.

“We’ve hoped we could get viable female candidates in the past,” Ceplina said.

Tate’s first impressions of the HPD are positive.

“Everyone seems to work together really well,” she said, “and they’re all able to call on each other.”

The HPD had a reserve female officer in the past. Ceplina said Tate will ride with other officers during a field training period of about two months.

“I think she’s going to be a great asset to our department,” he said. “We were looking for a good long-term employee here – someone who might stay on for 25 years and then retire. With Teri, I think we’ve found that.”

“I look forward to being here and learning about the people and the place,” Tate said, “and finding out what Houston’s about.”

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