When Ruthie McCoy was only nine years old, she had her first encounter with a police officer. Responding to a call at her neighbor’s house, the officers caught the attention of the young and impressionable girl.
“One of the officers came over to talk to me, and I had so many questions to ask him,” she said. “He showed me the front of the patrol car, and, being a kid, I liked all the lights. But I had a feeling of safety. I knew if anything happened while that officer was there, I would be safe.”
McCoy, now 31 years old, is providing that same feeling of safety and comfort to children, and perhaps some adults, within Yazoo City. She has been an officer with the Yazoo City Police Department since last December.
A Vicksburg native, McCoy knew from that moment as a nine-year-old that she wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. After graduating from Warren Central High School, she found a job that helped prepare her for that pursuit.
Working as an armed security officer at the Army Corp of Engineers, the job was a stepping stone for her to learn about serving and protecting overs. She also wanted to join a department that didn’t have many female officers.
“I knew that the Yazoo did not have many female officers, and I wanted to change that,” she said.
Joining the Yazoo City Police Department, McCoy enrolled at the state police academy. She graduated with the Basic Class of 263 recently.
“Since policing in Yazoo City, I have seen and heard a lot,” she said. “I know more about policing thanks to this department. I had a good trainer and a nice shift to work with daily.”
McCoy said she simply enjoys helping people within the community. She also takes a special interest in working on the domestic violence task force. She has experienced domestic violence firsthand, and she understands how to use that negative experience in a positive light through her police work.
“It is a great feeling to know that I am capable of helping the victims,” McCoy said. “Some victims may not feel comfortable calling the police and simply continue living through it. We are here to help because it is our job. It is something that I can relate to, and I want the victims to know I am here to help.”
Aside from helping people, McCoy said putting on the badge is rewarding for her as a mother. With three children at home, the pride they give her as an officer makes the job all more rewarding.
“My kids look up to me, and they tell me they see me as a hero,” she said. “That right there is the reason I keep going. I have to keep going. They can’t see Mom give up, and they have to know that giving up is not an option. When I put on that uniform, the look in their eyes makes me feel good. And there are more little kids just like them out in the community that look to me too.”
In fact, all three of McCoy’s children want to pursue law enforcement careers when they are older.
But every job comes with a challenge. And with the national headlines law enforcement officers are involved with currently in the nation…the challenge is heightened.
“We have to show the public that officers are not all the same,” she said. “We have good officers who want to serve and protect. We have to have a good attitude and remain professional. Hold us to a higher standard.”
Badge or no badge, McCoy said she is still human.
“We are cops, but we are human too,” she said. “We want to go home to our families at the end of the day just like everyone else getting off of work. We’re lucky to go home to our families, eat together, laugh together. But I am still an officer, and I must remain professional. The community looks to me, and my kids look to me. And I still wear that badge every day.”