Renata Phillip was 11 years into a satisfying teaching career when she shocked her friends and family last August by deciding to become a police officer.

Her decision came amid growing concern over police tactics in the wake of a number of officer-involved shootings of unarmed black men across the country.

Phillip, a black woman who grew up in a mostly white, upper middle class neighborhood east of Los Angeles, says she wasn't motivated by race. But race is a motivation now as she completes her training to become a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.

Phillip hopes to be an example to those who've never dealt with a black law enforcement officer.

Los Angeles Police Department rookie Asia Hardy says Phillip should expect both criticism and pride on the streets.