Omaha – Lt. Sherie Thomas, with the Omaha Police Department, credits her education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with helping her to bring change to her community. Thomas is a graduate of the UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Watch Change of course at UNO helps Sherie make an impact, a video by KETV, to hear her story.
It's a great feeling when people come up to me later on, and say thank you for doing this because that helped change my life."
- Lt. Sherie Thomas, Omaha Police Department
I'm Sherie Thomas. I'm a lieutenant on the Omaha Police Department.
When I graduated, I decided to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I went thinking that I was going to be an accountant but I ended up taking a criminal justice class. And it was the best class ever. I was intrigued by the content that we were learning and so I decided to change my major from business to criminal justice.
While I was in college I got pregnant with my oldest daughter. Being a single-mother, in college, working full-time, it was difficult but I think when you are determined you can basically do anything.
I attended a criminal justice career fair at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the police department was there. I applied, then went through the hiring process, and, ultimately, was offered a position to start the academy later on that year.
I grew up in northwest Omaha. That was one of the precincts that I worked out of. So that was nice being able to patrol the neighorhood that I actually I grew up in. A couple of people that I used to ride with, they would be like, "Sherie, you know everybody." A big part of law enforcement is the relationships that you have with people in the community. So with me having those relationships prior to me coming on the job, I think that defintely was beneficial.
One of my quotes I like is, "To be the changes you want to see in the world." And So when people have preconceived notions about people in law enforcement I can challenge them, "Have you ever thought about making a difference in this way." You know when people talk about the bad things that they hear about police officers, "Well what are you going to do to try to change that. Is this a career path that you're interested in?" For young people, especially African American young girls, to see someone in this role I think it gives them a sense of, "Oh if she did, I can do it."
I think we have a great community that is very supportive of law enforcement. It's a great feeling when people come up to me later on, and say thank you for doing this because that helped change my life. Those moments are memorable because the things that I am doing for people, it's coming from a genuine place, but it's really helping them out and making a difference in their lives.
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