GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Deputy Police Chief Kristen Rogers has spent the past 27 years protecting the people of Grand Rapids.

Rogers joined the force after graduating from Michigan State University, climbing up the ranks over the years from patrol officer, to lieutenant, to captain.

“I took my first criminal justice course, and I was hooked. Grand Rapids Police Department was hiring at the career fair, and I started coming and visiting the city and taking tests and I’ve never looked back,” Rogers said.

She became the city’s first female deputy chief in 2020, and says she had strong mentors before her who paved the way.

Rogers says she has never let gender define her career and hopes she has shown her two daughters that it is possible to balance a family and a demanding job.

“You don’t have to give up one or the other. You can be a mother, you can still be involved in the schools, you can still take cupcakes to schools, you can still do all this but yet also have a challenging role,” Rogers said.