Ashley Simon has wanted to wear the blue since the day she saw police officers patrolling the streets of her subdivision. Unsure what police officers did, she went online to investigate.

“I was about 18 years old when I fell in love with the ideal of being a homicide detective,” she said. “I would love to help bring justice and closure to victims and their families so they can possibly have some type of peace and comfort.”

Ashley was determined to be a homicide detective, but life turned a different direction. She got married, had children, and took a job in a refinery to help support her family.

A few years ago, she saw her chance. In 2012 Ashley received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, at the University of Houston, Downtown, then enrolled in the HCC Police Cadet Academy at the Northeast Campus.

“I chose HCC after some heavy research, too,” she said. “I read online about various police programs in the area, but the cadets at HCC seemed closer as a group. That’s where I applied.”

It was a great decision.

With the encouragement and support of her fiancé and mother,  Ashley started evening classes at the HCC campus 30 minutes from home. She left her driveway at 4 p.m. to be on time for a 5:30 class. It took a huge effort over nine-months, but she stuck it out.

“The academy was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she admitted. “But I gained a lot of confidence and motivation from it. Our instructors told us that we were entering a tough profession, and we needed to watch each other’s backs. I took that to heart.”

She was pleased with the number of young students in the class with her. Ashley, 31, was the second oldest. The youngest was 21.

“It was great to see so many young people choosing law enforcement as a career. I know I want my four children to be in law enforcement, too. I want to be a role model for them, and teach them to give back to their community.”

Ashley says the most helpful part of her training was the practical application of police skills, such as how to conduct business at a traffic stop.

“I actually reverted back to what I had learned in class when I made my first traffic stop on the job,” she added. “I was glad for the experience.”

HCC made going to college as convenient as possible for adults with family and other jobs.  Ashley says everything she needed—from labs to enrollment services to the library—were available when she was on campus in the evenings.

Right before she graduated, Ashley attended an HCC Job Fair and had an “interview on the fly” with an HCC Police Department recruiter. She applied and started working soon after completing the program.

“I never dreamed I would work for HCC one day,” she confessed.

“God has a purpose for me in law enforcement. I’m just letting Him lead the way.”