Serenin Tamimi made history last Tuesday when she was sworn in to the Paterson police department. Tamimi is the first officer in Paterson who will wear a hijab while on patrol. She was sworn in with two other female officers, Yeniry Medina and Gabriela Toribio. Paterson police department also swore in its first ever all-female academy class of officers.

Tamimi is a Palestinian-American woman who said that she wants to be a role model for little girls in the community. She says, “I want to be able to tell young girls that even though it can get hard sometimes, you are capable of doing it. You just have to believe in yourself and have heart”. Paterson is a diverse city, and the police department is reflecting that.

The three officers were part of a group that went through a 23-week training program that included instruction on working with diverse groups of people that they’d be serving in Paterson. The three officers who were sworn in were said to have done extremely well in the training program.

The Paterson police department didn’t give an exact number, but they did say that there’s a good amount of women in the department and that the number is continuing to grow.