SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Tamica Barnett has been a Syracuse Firefighter for the last 10 years. This week marks a first. She’s the first black woman to be promoted to lieutenant in the history of the department, which was first established in 1877.
“I’m excited that it happened and I’m looking forward to more black women moving up the ranks in the department,” Barnett said.
She’s ready to do the work this new role requires. She knows being lieutenant comes with a great responsibility. “I’m responsible for making sure my shift makes it home,” Barnett explained, “I’m responsible for making sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, that they know their job, and that everybody has a sense of belonging.”
Lieutenant Barnett grew up on Croly Street and participated in the Boys and Girls Club which is right across the street. She said the people there mentored her along the way so her career of giving back and serving the community is her way of saying thank you to them.
“I worked at the Boys and Girls Club, I worked at Girl Scouts, but then there came a time where I wanted to do more.” Barnett said, “So, the fire department I looked at it as an opportunity where I can really help people.”
That desire to give back is not only to benefit the community she grew up it. She also hopes spark change within the fire department. “One of the things that I stressed when speaking with Chief Monds is it feels great to be the first, but I wouldn’t want the feeling to be the last. I want more women to be encouraged to take the exam and advance in the department,” Barnett said.
Barnett wears many hats: Mother, business owner, Syracuse Board of Education Commissioner, Fire Lieutenant and now a trailblazer.