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Trailblazing police officer leaving the beat


After 23 years of service, a Wilmington police officer is starting a new chapter in her life.

Ofc. Verna Atwood is the first African-American woman to reach full retirement as a Wilmington police officer. When Atwood joined the force in 1987, she was one of a select few women officers working for the department. The department honored Atwood's service this afternoon by presenting her with a plaque, among other gifts.

Atwood is a Wilmington native and says she's excited about turning a new page in her life.

"Getting up at 4:30 in the morning, it's nice to not have to do that," she said. "And to be in it this long and still be sane and healthy, that's a blessing."

Atwood says her retirement will consist of a lot of traveling. Jamaica is her first destination.

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