By Jennifer Mayerle

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) – A Golden Valley Police Commander is making history. Alice White is the first African American to serve on the department’s command staff.

“I’m proud. I’m proud that I’m here,” White said.

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White is settling into her new position.

“They’ve been so welcoming. It seems super genuine,” she said.

White spent 17 years with Minneapolis police, moving up the ranks, parting ways with the department as a patrol sergeant in the 4th Precinct.

“I didn’t leave the department with any negative feelings or for any reasons that were negative. My sole goal was to gain professional development,” White said.

White was sworn in in November becoming the first Black officer on the department’s command staff. It’s an administrative role where she handles contracts and pay, among other things.

“I think someone has to be first,” White said.

She believes representation in law enforcement matters.

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“You’re going to have the opportunity to relate better and have a better understanding of the people that you’re serving,” White said.

“With Alice coming in, it’s really been a value-added piece,” Chief Scott Nadeau said.

Chief Nadeau says there’s a focus on diversifying the department, while finding the right people for the job.

“Her work in Minneapolis, particularly working with community, building those relationships and those important bridges, the leadership she was showing in her positions. She brings a lot of experience from a variety of different perspectives,” Nadeau said.

White’s background also includes growing up on Minneapolis’ south side as a teenage parent. The mother of three is now a proud grandmother.

“There was a lot of statistics that supposedly were stacked against me. I want people who see me, and especially those who look like me, to know that there is opportunity if that is what they would like,” White said.

Commander White was part of a documentary while she was at MPD, called Women in Blue. It focused on female officers in the department.

It’s available online to rent here.

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Jennifer Mayerle