WACO, Texas – Alice Pollard and C.F. Franklin were the first African-Americans to join the Waco Police Department.

Now decades later, Waco’s first African-American and female Police Chief Sheryl Victorian shares how they, along with others, helped pave the way for her.

Chief Victorian told FOX 44 News she sits on the shoulders of people like Pollard, the first African-American female officer for the department.

Victorian says women only make up three percent of police chiefs across this country, and she is grateful to serve in a respected and noble position.

“They have paved the way,” Victorian said. “They have gone through so much for me to be able to rise to the level that I have in policing. So I am eternally grateful for those who paved the way for me.”

Stepping in her office, you can see her policing journey displayed with awards, pictures and badges.

Chief Victorian served the Houston Police Department for 28 years before joining the Waco Police Department in March of last year.

While policing is rewarding, it can be tough – she says especially being first in a role.

“I think the expectation or the lack thereof of what we are capable of, what our background is, whether or not we are going to be fair, what our experience is in policing,” Victorian said. “I think that’s a concern for people. It’s new, so you don’t know what to expect.”

Next month, Victorian will celebrate a year as police chief – and although she is still learning, the embrace from her colleagues and community has made her journey rewarding.

“Those that may not have been engaged with policing before are stepping up, and now they are being engaged,” Victorian said. “I get emails and text messages from people in the community that don’t even know me saying, ‘Hey, we are praying for you. We are supporting you!'”

Chief Victorian also added the youth has a special place in her heart, and that being a role model for them is a position she doesn’t take lightly.