When Officer Amanda Kneisel sets a goal — she demolishes it.
At 4 years old, she knew she wanted to be a police officer. Next month, she’ll celebrate her five-year anniversary with the North Richland Hills Police Department.
Last year, she was selected to be on the department’s SWAT team. This month, she was named the first female to pass the sniper course in the 10-year history of the Fort Worth Police Department’s sniper training program.
“I had actually never shot a precision rifle before this,” Kneisel said laughing. “I went in there with an open mind, and once I set my mind to doing something, I achieve it.”
Asked why she wanted to join the SWAT team, she said, “I was trying to figure out what all I can do to help the police department and better serve citizens and better my career as an officer.”
So it became her next move.
But it’s a move she’s been working toward since she was a kid.
“Whenever I was 4 my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I instantly said ‘police officer,’” Kneisel said. “She made sure I stayed on the right track, challenged me and made sure I could achieve my dream job. I took criminal justice classes in high school and got my bachelor’s in criminal justice.”
The commander of the SWAT team — Lt. Carrie White — has been with Kneisel every step of the way.
“I was very excited about her achieving this particular accomplishment,” White said. “There were a lot of people in Amanda’s corner during this process and to see her step up and make it happen is a source of pride for the members of this agency from the chief to the newest recruit.”
She said the benefits of having a diverse team are limitless.
“One of the most important benefits is a better representation of the community which we serve,” she said. “The team has a great deal of respect for each other as people, they do an excellent job of not placing labels on each other — all they see is a fellow officer but at the same time they recognize and appreciate the difference more diversity brings to the team based upon each individual’s life experiences.”
Kneisel encourages other women to follow their dreams, no matter what they are.
“It’s good for everyone, especially females, to challenge themselves, to work hard and show everyone you can do it,” she said.