JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A former corrections officer is among the policemen and women now patrolling the streets of Jackson.
She’s among the last recruit class and wants to make a difference in the city where her family lives.
"I'm looking forward to the experience to see how it is out here on the streets," said rookie JPD Officer Donya Ray.
This is the second week Ray has been patrolling the streets of the Capital City.
Her class started with five females.
The 10-year Jackson resident was one of two women to graduate from the police department’s 58th recruit class.
“While I was growing up, you rarely saw a female police officer,” said the officer-in-training. “So it’s an honor to finally become one; be an example and a role model to other little girls, as well as my son."
Ray is assigned to Precinct One in south Jackson and is learning Beat Six under the watchful eye of her Field Training Officer, Julian Lonie.
Ray’s class started with 21 cadets. Fourteen completed the grueling 16-week program.
The Tampa, Florida native hopes to help build JPD’s ranks and change the perception of some law officers.
“I know a lot of people are probably scared of the police, don’t like the police,” said Ray. “I want to change that mindset, show them that it’s a lot of good ones out there.”
The 27-year-old rookie has another three months of training, patrolling, learning the streets and the people of Precinct One before she rides alone.
“It has to be in your heart. If it’s not in your heart, this is not the job for you. It’s always been in my heart,”added Ray.