Salicia Belton made history when the board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA or Metro) approved her appointment as the head of the agency’s police department’s firearms training range. Belton is the first woman and the first African American to hold that post, according to Metro authorities.
The 51-year-old told The Washington Informer “I am in charge of the agency’s weapons and ammunition range. It is a multimillion-dollar operation. I also oversee training officers on how to use their weapons, maintenance of the range, working within its budget, and seeing that it is well supplied.”
The pioneering woman shared that she had worked for a bank and in construction before joining the Metro Police Department. The 1991 graduate of Eastern High School added that, prior to joining her current organization, her professional ambition was to work in law enforcement.
She explained that she chose to join Metro’s police force because she enjoys the work and the challenges it presents. According to her, because Metro is a tri-jurisdictional organization, an officer has to be qualified and obedient to the laws of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Revealing her duties, Belton disclosed that there are some days when training cops and special officers take center stage. She shared that it is her duty to train the agency’s SWAT-style “Metro Special Response Team”. She also sometimes fills out the documentation for the agency and the three jurisdictions where Metro officers are stationed.
Belton operates the range as both a personal and professional goal. “If someone is missing, I fill in on the job,” she said. “If a weapon is broken or doesn’t work, I make it my business to fix it.”
Randy Clarke, the CEO and general manager of Metro, agreed with the board’s decision to select Belton. He praised her performance at Metro.
“I find her to be professional and good at what she does. Belton embodies the idea of servant leadership, and I think the Metro board made the right decision in hiring her for that position,” he said.