MDTA promotes first African-American female lieutenant colonel
On Dec 5, Major Lucy Lyles was promoted to lieutenant colonel, becoming the first African-American female to hold that rank in Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police history.
The 25-year veteran will now run the Administrative Bureau, overseeing logistics and support services.
After graduating from Mergenthaler Vocational-Techinical High School, Lyles attended University of Maryland, College Park, earning a bachelors of science degree in criminal justice.
Right after, Lyles went to University of Maryland, University College, and earned a degree in paralegal studies.
“After that I went right into the work force,” L yles explained, noting that she
worked for different law firms.
She would ultimately change career paths after going on maternity leave to have her youngest son, and the law firm she worked for was closed.
“I was jobless, so I began to work part-time at the post office,” L yes said.
“I knew I didn’t want to stay there long,” Lyles said.
Originally, Lyles was looking to go to law school and work in the legal arena, Lyles explained. “However, I always wanted to be a police officer.”
Randomly, Lyles’ husband brought home an application for what was then the Toll Facility.
According to Lyles, the Toll Facility changed its name in 1995 to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
“I put in my application, not even thinking much of it, and they hired me,” Lyles said.
She was hired to work at Baltimore/Washington International Airport on and off for 5 years.
“I did a few things in this position before hitting the promotional track,” Lyles said.
In 1999, Lyles was promoted to corporal and was switched to the office of strategic planning where she wrote and re-wrote the directive manuals and the rules and regulations for the agency.
“We became accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies; I was a part of that certification process,” Lyles said.
Along with obtaining accreditations, Lyes assisted with the leadership of other law enforcement officers, creating mentorship programs, training programs, inventory, special projects, training, budgets and payroll.
In May of 2003, Lyles graduated from Johns Hopkins with a masters in Management.
A year later, Lyles worked with internal affairs.
In 2005, Lyles was promoted to a sergeant, where she was assistant commander of the commercial vehicle safety unit.
“They do commercial vehicle safety inspections, bus inspections, overweight vehicles, things of that nature to make the roads safe,” L yles said.
In April of 2007, Lyles was promoted to lieutenant, commander of the commercial vehicle safety unit northern region and responsible for the oversight of the commercial vehicle safety unit.
Six months later, she was promoted to captain and became commander of the internal affairs unit, again dealing with any breach of agency policies and procedures, as well as implementing the blue team, an electronic program that processes cases.
“In July of 2009, I left and went to the FBI national academy,” Lyes explained. “When I came back they transferred me back to the commercial vehicle safety unit as a commander.”
Two years later, she was made acting major and commander of the patrol devision, implementing strategic strategies to increase DUI and DWI enforcement, traffic safety, commercial vehicle enforcement, budget and grants.
In 2013, Lyles was promoted, managing bridges, two tunnels, the commercial vehicle safety unit, grievances, labor contracts, payroll and budget.
After years of hard work, Lyles has reached the highest position in her department.
“I had a track in mind when I first joined the police department,” Lyles said.
Early in her career, Lyles was complaining to her then commander about functions that displeased her. Once her complaining stopped, he looked at her and told her to become the change she wanted, instead of complaining
“Right now this isn’t just an accomplishment for me but a milestone for others who are being promoted in the agency,” Lyes explained. “Now we’re a part of histor y.”
According to Lyles, 26 other people were promoted.
“The agency is evolving and becoming more improved and a better place to work,” Lyes said.
“I’m humbled,” she noted. In the future, Lyles wants to become a chief.
“Currently, I’m working on my PhD in public safety and administration,” L yles said.
Lyles wants to focus on the recruitment and retention process to make the agency more diverse.
“I see that as a shortcoming for a lot of agencies,”L yles explained. “My heart is in law enforcement; I love teaching, however I do want to eventually become a chief somewhere.”
Lucy Lyles, the first female African-American to be promoted to MDTA lieutenant colonel.
Visitors take in the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society Train Garden.
A small Christmas scene at the Historical Society.
Lighted luminaries lined Veterans Park on Dec. 21.