Miami Gardens Tribute to First Black Female Police Officer in Florida

Thelma Harris is a trailblazer for equality in South Florida. Decades ago, she became the first black female police officer in Florida and she was recognized for her service Thursday.

Miami-Dade County officials proclaimed Thursday, March 3, 2016 as Officer Thelma Harris Way Day.

When Harris joined the Miami-Dade Police Department in 1962, she became the first black female police officer in Florida.

"She loved doing undercover work and because she helped to start the officer-friendly program, they put her picture in the paper. She got upset because she couldn't do undercover work anymore. That takes courage and determination," said Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan.

Officer Harris proudly served her community for 20 years before retiring in 1982. Her daughter and grandchildren say Harris was a woman who truly wanted to make a difference and by doing so, she left a legacy to be proud of.

"I am just thrilled to death. My mother was my mentor and best friend," said Brenda Joyce Freeman, daughter.

Northwest 175th Street from Northwest 27th Avenue to Northwest 37th Avenue has been designated as Officer Thelma Harris Way. Family, friends and officers say anyone driving down the street in Miami Gardens will be reminded of what's possible.

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