WOMEN ON THE TEAM
Historically law enforcement has been a male-dominated profession, but today that appears to be changing. With each hiring cycle, we are receiving more and more applications from women who are seeking a career in law enforcement. Want to know why? Just read the stories below to meet some the Women of the Meridian Police Department and to hear why they chose this fast-pace and exhilarating career.
Hi there! My name is Danelle Barrera, and I have been working for the Meridian Police Department since February of 2017. Prior to working for the Meridian Police Department, I worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department from January of 2014, where I worked in the jail and patrol for the Lakewood Station.
Prior to beginning my law enforcement career, I attended the University of California, Davis where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and played water polo. I started my college career at UC Davis pursuing a degree in Animal Biology, with the intent of becoming a Veterinarian. Halfway through my schooling, I realized it was not the career path for me as Chemistry and I did not get along. At the time of making the degree change to Sociology, I was working a security type job and decided it was time to follow my true passion of becoming a police officer.
I have been involved with law enforcement for my whole life due to my father and uncles being police officers. I have always admired what they did for their careers and even went on many ride-alongs with them as a child. I know these experiences as a child made me want to become a police officer.
In January of 2014, I began my law enforcement career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and started the academy. The academy was hard, daunting, exhausting, and fun. I met some great human beings there, and I learned so much about myself and my passion for law enforcement. Upon graduating from the academy, I was assigned to the Inmate Reception Center (jail), where I quickly learned I wanted to be outside working with the citizens. I transitioned to patrol and was assigned to the Lakewood Sheriff Station, where I met a training officer who would change my life forever. She taught me, that as a female police officer, we do not have to be hard and mean to people simply due to our size or stature. This woman stands about 5 feet tall and is one of the most hard-working, dedicated, and amazing police officers I have ever met. I told myself after meeting her, I would be as good as a police officer as her. To this day, I still talk to her and she is still working hard and making a difference. I hope to continue to make a difference in people's lives like she does.
With all the experience I have now, any time I meet a brand-new officer I tell them to give it their all, have faith in themselves, and never give up - even on the really bad days. This job can be difficult, exhausting, scary - yes scary - and challenging; but most of all, it can be rewarding. Those rewarding moments and days are what I live for as an officer, and I take pride in being able to go home and say I definitely made a difference today. Every time I meet someone new, I try to make it a positive experience - even in the good, bad, or ugly situations. I hope when I leave they will remember Officer Barrera as a nice, respectful, and caring police officer who just wanted to make their day a little bit better. When I made the decision to come work for the Meridian Police Department, I not only chose it because they made me feel like a family member, but because they made me feel so welcome. At the Meridian Police Department, I have a feeling of family and security, as I know my partners have my back and my family can rely on them to get me home at the end of the night.
I hope whenever anyone meets a Meridian Police Officer, they realize we are human, we have hearts, and we always intend to do the right thing. The Meridian Police Department has given me the opportunity to grow as both a person and a police officer, and has made me better at both of these. In 2023 I was promoted to Sergeant and started supervising a patrol team. I cannot wait to see how the Meridian Police Department will continue to evolve over the years.
My name is Karina Childers, and I have been working for the Meridian Police Department since December of 2018.
Becoming a police officer was not a career choice originally on my radar, as I initially began attending college to gain the necessary knowledge and skill set for a career in graphic design. One day, I had a moment where I realized I did not want to be sitting behind a desk all day and really wanted a career where I could make a difference in peoples' lives. So I decided to take an introduction to policing class and I was hooked! I felt, with all of my being, that pursuing a career in law enforcement is what I was meant to do.
As a new recruit, the hiring process can be daunting when you look at all of the appointments, tests, and training you have to go through. My advice to anyone thinking of starting this process is to take it one step at a time. Trust me when I say, that in the end, it is all worth it.
Being a police officer is such an honor. There is a multitude of trust the community puts into us to be the ones to protect them. This job comes with its challenges, however, that is part of the reason I love it. There is always more to learn and avenues to continue to grow as an officer and as a person in general.
While I occasionally find someone who has a lack of appreciation and understanding in all that we do, those moments are easily forgotten by all the good my partners and I are able to do in the community. As police officers, we help save lives, help people get out of a toxic situations, find satisfaction in providing all around help to our citizens, and always strive to provide guidance and protection to the community in times of need. I believe that all of these things help to not only make a positive impact on the community, but also shows our citizens that the Meridian Police Department is dedicated to protecting its citizens.
I went into this career with the mindset of gaining one positive out of every contact I have with someone. I want the community to know police officers are people too and my teammates with the Meridian Police Department want nothing more than what is best for the citizens of Meridian. We are not just robots who have been trained to only enforce the law without feelings. We feel. We hurt. We care.
COMMUNITY SERVICE OFFICER
My name is Fahira Rudan and I started with the Meridian Police Department since October of 2020.
I was born in Bosnia and moved to Idaho in 2002. I started 1st grade in Idaho and went on to attend Boise State University where I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. I played volleyball all throughout middle school and high school and absolutely love the sport!
Growing up I was hooked on law enforcement shows! I had a strong urge to work in the field and knew there was way more to law enforcement than all of the action seen on TV.
Coming from a war torn country, I knew I wanted to be a helping hand in my community. When I saw the opening for Community Service Officer, I knew it was the right fit for me. Through my role, I am able to help our community members and assist our patrol team on calls.
While a career in law enforcement has its ups and downs, I make it a point to focus on the positive. Having a good support system has helped me find a healthy work-life balance.
Working for the Meridian Police Department, I have met some pretty amazing people. The department offers great benefits and provides trainings and tools to make us successful.
I look forward to growing and learning both as a person and within my role.
CODE ENFORCEMENT SUPERVISOR
I am Lacy Ooi, and I have worked for the Meridian Police Department since August of 2009.
As a young girl, I grew up recongizing Peace Officers as heroes. My uncle was a Deputy Sheriff who was killed in the line of duty. The stories I heard about him made me feel connected to those in law enforcement. As a young adult, I found myself at a crossroad after dealing with a traumatic experience. I decided I would not stay on a path as a victim, but would use my experience in a way that could benefit and serve others.
I attended a California Basic Peace Officer Academy in 2001. Following graduation, I found my first career opportunity working as Police Aide for the City of Sonoma. In July 2004, I become a Community Services Officer for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, the same department in which my uncle served. I stayed with the Sheriff's Office until January 2009, when I moved to Idaho.
I wanted to continue my career in law enforcement and found the a position with the Meridian Police's Department as a Code Enforcement Officer. I was intrigued by the unique opportunity to work as a city official with a police department in a capacity that enhances citizen's environments to work, live, and play. I began working as a Code Enforcement Officer in August of 2009, and I enjoy working the community, city employees, and our Meridian Police Officers.
The City of Meridian strives to gives employees benefits that help create a work-life balance. We have a wellness program that allows us to earn a day off of work, and the city matches a percentage of our contribution into a retirement account. In the Fall of 2019, the Meridian Police Department recognized the need for a new position allowing advancement within the Code Enforcement Unit, and I was promoted to Lead Code Enforcement Officer. The Meridian Police Department has given me the opportunity to grow as a person and within my position. I plan to stay with the Meridian Police Department until I retire, as I don't feel there is a better place for me to spend my career.
Public Information Officer
My name is Kelsey Johnston and I am the Public Information Officer for the Meridian Police Department. I started in this career field because I love emergency management, planning, and crisis communication. I chose Meridian Police Department because of their culture.
I was born and raised in Caldwell, Idaho, graduating from Vallivue High School in 2009. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northern Arizona University, I moved to Phoenix, AZ to work in nonprofit. After eight (8) years away from my family, I made the decision to return to Idaho in 2017. While in my master’s program through Arizona State for Emergency Management, I decided to apply for my role at Meridian Police. The PIO role is an integrated part of the comprehensive emergency management system, which provides crisis communication.
When Chief Basterrechea asked in my interview why I wanted to work for Meridian Police, my answer was easy. It was MPD’s focus on service to the community that drew me to this agency. As a resident of Meridian, my encounters with Meridian Police were always professional and kind. Knowing different people who work and live in the city, their respect for our specific police department was profound.
In a world where police departments are heavily scrutinized, MPD has an incredible relationship with its community, operating with openness and transparency that makes it easy to trust. My job is to show the work we are doing as an agency to our community. While crisis communication is my main focus, we are fortunate that we aren’t in crisis every day. This position has allowed me to develop positive relationships with businesses and residents in a way that highlights the work that our police department does for the community. My passions are supported in this role, whether that is a social post showing the community we provided escort to a local high school’s wrestling team as they sent a record number of athletes to the state championship or helping start the conversation surrounding mental health in the community. Meridian Police Department is an agency that I can proudly tell people I work for.