At the beginning of December 2021, the Utica Police Department promoted Star Wooden from sergeant to lieutenant. She is the first, highest-ranked minority in UPD history.

Wooden has been with the Utica Police Department for the past 13 years. In her seventh year, she was promoted to sergeant. Taking on her newest role comes with more responsibility, and a schedule change.

“As a sergeant you’re still on police patrol and you’re responding to calls. As a lieutenant, you’re in and pretty much watching over everybody while you’re working,” said Wooden.

Working the overnight shift is a change of pace, but she keeps busy.

“I’ve mopped in here just to get myself going," said Wooden.

On top of her lieutenant tasks, she is in charge of other programs in the department.

“I also am in charge of the Taser program and I do accident reconstruction and I teach general topics, a bunch of different general topics. And I also did in-service training for the department," said Wooden.

It is a tough climate right now to be in law enforcement, but Wooden says that’s what pushes her even more/

“I never really wanted to be like, 'oh Star,' even though that’s my name. I just really wanted to be more of a catalyst and part of that person to be there for change. Whatever achievements I am able to achieve or get to are just blessings for me,” said Wooden.

She may have been the first, but she says she doesn’t want to be the last.

“If you want your department to reflect your community, you have to be a part of it as well," said Wooden.