ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- In front of family and friends, the City of Ithaca awarded Ithaca Police Department's Senior Investigator Christine Barksdale with the "J. Diann Sams Annual African-American History Month Recognition Award." It's given to someone in the community who goes above and beyond to make a positive impact, and Christine does so, effortlessly.
"I am really grateful...but I was just living my life, you know. Just doing the things you're supposed to do -- that I think you're supposed to do -- because it's how I was raised, is that you're supposed to give back to your community, where-ever you are," Barksdale says.
"She puts 110% into everything she does. And I mean that, sincerely. If there was a rating for 110% Christine does it.," says IPD Officer, Jack Nelson, who's mother is the namesake of the award.
Christine attended Cornell University after moving to Ithaca from Harlem. From there, she became a trailblazer in law enforcement. She was the first and only black woman on the force at IPD, where she worked as a juvenile and sex crimes investigator. Christine explains how she approaches any difficult situation like a math problem, in that there is always a solution.
"The reality is, that's what I felt like with any of the challenges I had there. I walk into a room, often times, I've been the only black person. I've definitely been the only black woman. And I've definitely been the only black police officer a lot. But that's not necessarily a challenge -- that's just the way you live life," Barksdale says.
"My mother used to say, they might not let you in through the front door, so you come through the back. And if you can't come through the back, you climb through a window. And if you can't go through the window, you cut a hole through the roof," Barksdale continues.
Humbled by the gesture of the award, Christine often referred to some wisdom she says helped shape her outlook on life.
"With freedom comes responsibility. So if you can, you must. Period," she says.
Congratulations to IPD Senior Investigator Christine Barksdale for receiving the award!