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In Her Corner: Fort Myers officer talks climbing the ranks, making S.W.A.T

Posted at 1:08 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 17:52:07-05

FORT MYERS, Fla.-- Sergeant Gloria Camacho with the Fort Myers Police Department helps the community every time she clocks in for her shift.

It's been one year since she was promoted to Sergeant, but she is also one of the few women to ever be a part of the city's S.W.A.T team.

S.W.A.T is a tactical force that is used for special situations that go beyond the abilities of police officers.

It's also a role Sgt. Camacho needs to be ready for at a moments notice-- whether she is on or off duty.

"I have it [gear] ready all the time," said Sgt. Camacho. "If I go somewhere and I'm not working, I have it set up somewhere in a certain way where I can grab it easily."

All of the gear and tactics used by the task force may seem intimidating to some, but when you look past the uniform and badge, you'll discover Sgt. Camacho has an inspiring story of starting over.

After leaving her job with the Port of Miami to move to Fort Myers, Sgt. Camacho says the call to serve was too strong to ignore.

"It seemed like something that was difficult to attain... that was one reason," said Sgt. Camacho. "Another thing was that I did regret not joining something like the military or so on when I was younger."

After being with the department for two years, Sgt. Camacho finally had the opportunity to try out for S.W.A.T which was something her family struggled with at first.

"Culturally it wasn't something that women did, said Sgt. Camacho. "I was never told no you can not do that, but it was a battle I had to face with my family."

While her family still worries for her safety-- they couldn't be more proud. They were front and center when she was promoted to sergeant last January.

Between the mask, helmet, and the rest of her gear-- Sgt. Camacho says most people can't tell who is who when she's on a call.

However, there is one question about gender that she gets often-- do women have to meet the same physical requirements as men to make S.W.A.T?

"So yeah, they [the requirements] are [the same] and I wouldn't expect them to be any different," said Sgt. Camacho. "I feel like I got there and I need to continue to meet those standards so I can show them I deserve to be there."

There is one thing Sgt. Camacho hopes people learn from her story, not only is a career with law enforcement a rewarding one, but anyone can start over and be successful.

"There was never a moment I thought, I can't do it. Put your mind to it and you can do it."