Patricia Harman of Aquia Harbour has been awarded the honor of Steve Harvey's "Best Police Officer in America." Harman's win comes as no surprise today, but her teen years almost dictated a completely different story.
Before her career in law enforcement, Patricia Harman was a teen with a home problems and few options. Following her parents' divorce, Harman ran away from home and ran into some bad friends and a bad attitude. After nearly two months as a runaway, authorities caught up with Harman and returned her home and reentered her in school.
At school, Harman began participating in Excel-- a program similar to trade-training that introduced teens to different fields by allowing them to spend time with professionals in the workforce. On one program assignment, Harman was sent on a police ride-along, which she says completely changed her life.
"We got a call to go to a suicide case, and by the time i got out of the car, I knew this was the coolest job ever."
Harman had found her calling in the field of law enforcement.
She credits that police ride-along with putting her on the straight and narrow path for the rest of her teen years. At 15, Harman joined the Police Officer's Explorer program, by 16 she was hired part-time in the police records department and on her 21st birthday, she was officially sworn in as an officer.
Visibly emotional when she took the podium to accept her award, Harman attributes her success as a law official to one very special policy.
"When kids get in trouble in my community, arrest is the last thing we do. We help them... Helping out a kid can change a life... It changed mine."
Harman continues to practice law enforcement and is now a police chief in Aquia Harbor.