May's Difference Maker: A First for Valdosta

Posted at 3:26 AM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 03:49:43-04

VALDOSTA, GA- There's always a FIRST. The first to invent the wheel. The first man on the moon. The first Black President.

WTXL's Christine Souders introduces you to May's Difference Maker who is a "first" for Valdosta.

When you walk in to the Valdosta Police Department, it's "Sergeant" Sabrina Smith.

"I started in 2006," said Sergeant Sabrina Smith.

You could say Sergeant Smith is a trendsetter, "it's not a legacy unless you're leaving something."

The badge-yielding cop with a mo-hawk is the first African-American female Sergeant in the Investigations Bureau.

"It paves the way for so many other people who may come after who have the dream and aspirations to one day sit in this seat," said Smith.

She worked hard to be in that seat.

She started as a patrol officer, worked her way up to school resource officer, then she made detective in juvenile investigations. Now she handles car burglaries and thefts.

Sabrina Smith wears multiple hats. She's a Sergeant at the Valdosta Police Department. When she leaves, she's a wife, mother of two, Grandmother, pastor of a congregation and an advocate for victims of abuse.

Smith is the founder of the non-profit called "It's All About H.E.R., the acronym for healing, empowerment and restoration.

"It's always been my mission to be able to help those who've gone not just childhood sexual assault, but any type of traumatizing event that sometimes debilitate us," said Smith.

She wasn't going to let her abuser hinder her future

"I was molested by my pastor and it was a very difficult thing to go through, especially when you feel like you have no support,"

Smith didn't have that support and she says no one should have to go through an experience such as abuse, alone

Tamanda Staffin who is now the Vice President of the non-profit, and she says she is a far cry from her life, before she met Sabrina.

"At the time I met Sabrina. I suffered molestation. Suffered a sexual assault. I was gang raped by three individuals. I was in an abusive relationship. At the time I had given birth to my second daughter. I was addicted to exstacy, marijuana," said Tamanda Staffin.

Sabrina would patrol her neighborhood, strike up conversations and give her words of encouragement. Tell her she has "purpose."

"She wasn't afraid to let me know that in spite of where I was, all I had to do was make the decision to trust her," said Staffin.

She said those empowering words eventually seeped in and she turned her life around. She got off the drugs and got back custody of her kids. Tamanda isn't the only success story.

Rochelle Mudd said she hit rock bottom more times then she can count. Sabrina helped her get through it.

"When you come from brokenness and never being apart of anything. I feel like we should empower each other. African American women, women in general. To uplift each other. It's just amazing on what we can do together," said Mudd.

Sabrina puts on monthly empowerment seminars in her community and she'll go where ever she's needed.

"I'm like a mobile response unit. It's where ever, I've shown up in parking lots, I've shown up at Walmart, it just depends on where the need is," Smith said.

All she really cares about is if she can make a difference just one life at a time, if it's way more, that's fine too.

"The ability to sit and hear people share there lives where they were and where they are now, and you just had a hand in that, to me that's the greatest measure of success you could ever have," said Smith

"Sergeant" Sabrina Smith is empowering people in her community and that's why she's May's Difference Maker.