THOMASVILLE — Thomasville Police Department officer Jamica Thomas was inspired by a sniper to aim for greater heights in her young law enforcement career.
The female sniper spoke at a women's conference for Georgia law enforcement officers in Athens about two years.
Today, 27-year-old Thomas is the first female member of TPD's SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team.
The Thomasville native has been a TPD officer for three years.
During her last semester in college, Thomas, previously undecided about her future, decided to work for her home community. She applied with TPD.
"And I actually got hired," she said.
Thomas earned a bachelor's in criminal justice at Valdosta State University, where she is pursuing a master's degree.
The new SWAT member said TPD's patrol team is predominantly male, so she is accustomed to being the rare female.
"They don't treat me any differently from the guys," Thomas said.
She mentored young people while a patrol officer.
"They still come to me for advice," Thomas said. Mentoring continues on duty and off.
Daughter of Thomasville resident Christine Austin, Thomas is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority and House of Joy, a local Pentecostal church.
She was a cheerleader at Thomas County Middle School, ran track for four years at Thomas County Central High School and began competing in track with other schools in ninth grade.
Some officers call her "Jet" because of her running speed.
Sometimes Thomas allows male officers to open doors for her.
"I'd rather do it myself," she said.
Since joining TPD in 2016, and in addition to being a patrol officer and school resource officer, Thomas served as a field training officer.
"(Officer) Thomas has excelled in all her assignments, and I am excited for her new career opportunity being a SWAT operator," Police Chief Troy Rich said. "She is blazing a trail for future women who may have the desire to work in law enforcement. She is an excellent role model for our youth."
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820