Department now at full strength with 13 police officers
Vernon didn’t have to wrestle with her decision to leave the big-city
police department of Detroit to join the ranks of the Northville Police
Dept., where the pace is slower and more about assisting people in need
– such as a car accident or life-saving event. Her prowess as a former
student-athlete wrestler makes her ready and equipped to handle whatever
comes her way.
She was sworn into office on April 26 by Police
Chief Michael Carlson, who has brought the department to full strength
with her hiring as the 13th officer.
Being a police officer is a
dream come true for Vernon, 26, a Michigan native who aspired to serve
others through law enforcement since elementary school when officers
came to her Oakland County school to talk about the DARE program (Drug
Abuse Resistance Education). “I’ve always viewed officers as heroes,”
she said, “and wanted to be one too.”
Being physically and
mentally strong, she was attracted to wrestling as a sport. She was on
wrestling teams from middle school, earning national recognition by the
USGWA (U.S. Girls’ Wrestling Assoc.) through college, as an NCAA
scholar-athlete at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.
After graduating with a B.A. in criminal justice, she went to China with
a friend for one year to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to
elementary school kids. She learned a bit of the Chinese language – its
many dialects make it tough to master – but learned a lot about living
in Asia and interacting with people who don’t speak English. While
there, she traveled to Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand.
one year abroad, she enrolled in the Detroit Police Academy and worked
two years for the Detroit Police Dept. before coming to Northville.
“Living in a foreign county helped me as a police officer because I
put myself in a different situation and didn’t know what to expect,”
Vernon said. “As an officer, I keep an open mind and am ready for
whatever challenge may come.
“My experience and training (in
Detroit) showed me how to handle a wide variety of different crimes. I
had a lot of training in tactics – mental health first-aid, verbal
de-escalation and interacting with diversity.
“Every day is
different as a police officer,” she added. “I am a good communicator and
have compassion for people. I’m helping people at some of the worst
times of their lives.”
She is currently being trained by Sgt.
Ken DeLano and calls him “a great FTO (field training officer).”
New to Northville, she is charmed by its culture. “The community is
unbelievable – it’s so welcoming and friendly. I’m excited to be here
and want to be actively involved in the community as much as I can be.”
When she’s not working, she likes to hang out with her Jack
Russell named Copper. Her father teasingly calls her Copper and her male
dog, “Little Copper.”
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