HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County police department welcomes its first female officer to the force.

The Hanover Township Police Department has served residents for more than 100 years. On Wednesday, a historic first, as two new officers were sworn in, one of them being the first woman to ever wear the uniform.

Cotisha Smith was sworn in by District Judge Joe Halesey as Hanover Township’s first female police officer Thursday night. She shared the historic moment with her grandmother and sister by her side.

“I finally followed my dreams,” said Officer Cotisha Smith, Hanover Township Police Department.

Smith says her lifelong dream was to become a police officer. After moving to the area from New Jersey around eight years ago, she took action to make it happen.

“I went to the police academy full time, and I worked full time at the same time, and also raised my siblings full time at the same time, so it was a lot of hard work, a lot of tears, a lot of sweat, a lot of pain but I made through it all,” Officer Smith explained.

Smith previously worked as a full-time officer in Salyersville. She says she’s thankful for the continued support from her family and friends.

“It feels good because my family had my back from day one, from the beginning. So to see me here, and to finally find a permanent home is amazing,” Officer Smith stated.

“We’re just grateful and so proud of her. She’s our kids’ greatest auntie, and now she’s our best friend the police officer, she’s just great. We love her,” said Candance McClure, Cotisha’s best friend.

Smith hopes to see more women join the force, and encourages everyone to dream big.

“Go for it. Follow your dreams. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it,” Officer Smith said.

Officer smith tells Eyewitness News her ultimate goal is to become a Detective and work with children.