Proudly Pennsylvanian | Major Turner-Childs law enforcement journey


Commander Kristal Turner-Childs was the only African American female to serve as a Troop commander in the history of the Pennsylvania State Police, and now she was just promoted to Major.

She is the second African American female to hold the rank.

Major Turner-Childs’ takes pride in her rank however she tells me she is most proud of the relationships she's cultivated right here in the Harrisburg community.

Major Kristal Turner-Childs remembers the very moment she knew she wanted to become a Pennsylvania State Police trooper.

She was ten years old.

There was a fight in her neighborhood. She and the other kids ran up to see what was going on.

"We ran up and I got there,” Turner-Childs said. “There was a young man and he had gotten hit and he was laying there, and his head was cracked open and there was blood just kind of trickling down the street."

The young Major quickly ran home and called 911 for help.

Later the responding Harrisburg City Police officer showed up at her home.

“He says ‘hey you probably saved that man's life today because you went and called 911,’ immediately it made me feel ten feet,” Turner-Childs said. “I think my chest just went up through the sky. From that point on, I wanted to be a police officer.”

After serving at Dauphin County Prison Major Turner-Childs went to the Academy, but it wasn't easy.

Initially, she struggled with fitness, but never the less she persisted and persevered.

"I knew I wanted to be a PA State Police trooper,” Turner-Childs said. “I didn't get it the first time, I didn't get it the second time, but the third time I got it and now I’m realizing my car and I’m realizing my dream."

The Harrisburg High School graduate went on to become the first female African American Troop commander in the history of the Pennsylvania State Police.

"My first day as a Troop commander we had a 74-car pileup on I-78, so that was my indoctrination in becoming a troop commander," Turner-Childs said.

A month ago, Kristal Turner-Childs was promoted to Major. She's now the Director of Forensic Services.

"We do trace evidence here, ballistic testing, we have DNA and latent prints," Turner-Childs said.

When I asked her what advice, she would like to give young women in her community on achieving their dream she had this to say, “Trust in your calling, trust it. 8, 9 years old I knew I wanted to be a police officer."

"We shouldn't necessarily focus on the ceiling,” Turner-Childs said. “We should focus on the sky, because the sky is the limit."

Major Kristal Turner-Childs has been recognized with many awards or her work in the community, Including the Citizen of the Year Award, the Women of Influence Award, the NCBD Award and the Catalyst Award.

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