BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Nikki Pinardo is climbing the ranks as the first female detective at Beckley Police Department. However, she is no stranger to law enforcement.

She became a police officer ten years ago and joined the Beckley Police Department four years ago, where she was on the road responding to calls at a moment’s notice. Now, she is taking on a new role.

“I like the puzzle of it all, to try to figure it out and finally get an ending,” Pinardo said. “When you are on the road, most of the time, you just get the beginning of what might have happened or little pieces of it, I like to put the pieces together.”

Pinardo said it was always her goal to become a detective. Even with her success, she said she still has a lot to learn.

“Even though it has been ten years of doing this, there is still a lot to learn and fortunately I have a really great teacher that is able to form me into what I need to be to be a detective,” Pinardo said.

Law enforcement is a male-dominated field with recent data showing women make up less than 13-percent of full-time police officers in the United States. Pinardo said she does not see herself as any different from the other detectives, but she hopes others can feel inspired seeing her serve the community.

“I hope it really does inspire more to give it a go,” Pinardo said. “It is a lot of work, it is not going to be easy. A lot of people, I have heard, want to be a detective and that is all they want to do, they do not want to work. Unfortunately, that is not something that is available but working the road really does help you be a better detective, it helps you be a better person, it helps you see things from everybody’s side.”

Pinardo was promoted to her new position in January 2022.