NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Patricia Helliger made history today. From now on, call her Captain. She was sworn in today at City Hall as the first African American woman captain in the New Haven Police Department.

Helliger told News 8 today, “I hope I have inspired some of our young people. It can be achieved no matter how difficult the road seems.”

Captain Helliger didn’t think it would take 20 years to rise to the rank of Captain. Retired Captain Odell Cohens remembers the first day she walked into the New Haven Police Department to apply to take the officer’s exam.

Cohens told News 8 she stood out. “What I saw in her was her enthusiasm. I look for that in people. And when she said I’m going to apply for it, I said great, I said you go for it.”

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp was there for the swearing in ceremony.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations personally as well as on behalf of a grateful city,” said Harp.

Captain Helliger is a fixture in the New Haven Community; helping residents, raising money, and taking care of families.