Leadership within the Gastonia Police Department has diversified.
The department promoted Nancy Brogdon, 40, to one of two deputy chief positions in July, making her the highest-ranked Latinx woman in the agency’s history.
Brogdon, 40, whose parents are Mexican, has been in the police force since 2005 in Gastonia. Throughout his career in the department, Brogdon held several positions. She first entered leadership in 2013 where she was promoted to Sergeant and in 2020 she was promoted to Captain.
Away from home in Chicago, Brogdon made sure to take with her the Latin roots she grew up with.
“English was the first language I learned because my babysitter was American but there was a period in my life when my family and I moved back to Mexico (Guadalajara). a few years but after coming back from Mexico to Chicago, I had to relearn English, “said Brogdon.
“My parents migrated and their goal was to come to America, to save enough money to be able to build a house and a business.”
Brogdon first dreamed of working in law enforcement at the age of 7, which prompted her to challenge stereotypes in law enforcement and improve officers’ interactions with members of the police. Hispanic / Latinx community.
Her mother helped her stay motivated as she worked to claim her place. Now becoming Deputy Chef, she hopes to inspire other women like her to continue to dream big.
“It’s a man’s world, so I knew there would be challenges along the way. I was determined to make it happen.”
Cultural differences can lead to misconceptions and cause a wedge between Hispanics and law enforcement, Brogdon said. To help bridge this gap, she tries to expose her culture to her colleagues and others.
Sometimes that means preparing fellow officers a traditional dish.
“They love to eat my food because I love to cook and they love to know more about the Latino community,” she said. “If you’re not exposed to it, you don’t know it.”
Brogdon worked to help the department gain the trust of the Latino / Hispanic community in Gastonia. She has built relationships with Latin / Hispanic businesses, such as the WoW Marketplace, to host events and show the unity between the police department and the community.
Brogdon has created a “Policia de Gastonia” Facebook page, in Spanish which translates to “Gastonia Police”, so that non-English speakers can always be up to date with what is happening in the city.
“With the Facebook page, we want to show the Latinx / Hispanic community that we are here to talk about their issues, to bridge that gap and to have better relationships with our community.”
Although there are other Latino / Hispanic officers in the Gastonia Police Department, Brogdon said she and her colleagues recognize there is still work to be done.
“There are a lot of things we have planned to straighten out our relationship with the community, including recruiting as many diverse officers as possible,” said Brogdon.
Along with Brogdon’s promotion, former Sergeant Adrienne Walker will now be captain, the first black woman to achieve this high rank.
Representation is important when discussing diversity, said Brogdon, and goes a long way in building trust with different communities within the city as a whole.
“I want to make my city and my community proud,” she said, “and I hope to be able to do so in the years to come as deputy chief.”
You can reach Beatriz Guerrero at 704-869-1828 or on Twitter @ BeatrizGue_