— -- The Holmes sisters are the New York Police Department’s very own “fab five,” five high-ranking and barrier-breaking police officers who just happen to be sisters.
Juanita Holmes is a deputy chief. Janice Holmes is a captain. Estella Holmes and Selena Holmes are both sergeants and Bernice Holmes is a retired sergeant.
“I was left, you know, braiding their hair, helping them with their homework, cooking at a very early age,” Juanita said in an interview that aired today on “Good Morning America.” “I realized that God was preparing me for something bigger and better.”
Capt. Janice Holmes is the first African-American female commanding officer of her precinct. She said the sisters are competitive with each other.
“And I’m winning,” Janice said with a laugh, adding that she plans to be Juanita’s boss in “a short few years.”
Her sister Juanita replied, “Only because I’ll be retired."
All the sisters followed in the footsteps of Bernice, who was the first to join the police force at the urging of a friend by the name of Charlie Divine.
“He used to say, ‘You have such a way with people, and yet they warm up to you and I really think you should take this test with me … and I just went on in, and I took the test, passed with flying colors,” Bernice said.
The Holmes sisters grew up in Queens, New York, with 13 siblings in all. Today, more than half of those siblings have careers in law enforcement.
“We always had a very good relationship but now that we're all cops we can relate to each other, like the stress on a job, what goes on in a job, and things like that,” Estella said.
The Holmes sisters are also uniquely part of both the African-American and law enforcement communities, which have seen tensions rise in recent years.
“When I think about trust in the community, I think there has to be a strong relationship with the community,” Juanita said. “It can't be us against them. It can't be those people.”
She added, “It is important that you push that message down to the officers. We can have all of the meetings we want to have with our executives. If the boots on the ground don't get that message and carry it out, it's really, it's just not going to work.”
Juanita’s son, William, will graduate from the police academy this summer. The sisters said they are proud of their family's legacy.
“I think it is a good thing when you can leave a legacy of positive role models who the children and people in general in our environment that we were raised in can view and say, ‘You know, they were no different than me and look what they achieved,’” Selena said. “It's a mindset. If you think big, you can be big. If you think small, you can be small.”