Jessica Johnnie, investigator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, is new to the position. She will take on a caseload of various cases but will primarily handle cases involving crimes against people.

Debby Schamber – For The Record

Editors note: this is part of an ongoing series into the lives of local police officers. The intention is to build a good line of communication between the officers and the public in light of recent headlines in cities across the nation. 

Jessica Johnnie has not stepped down from a challenge and she is not about to start now. Johnnie was the only female on patrol and now with her recent promotion she will take on some of the most heart wrenching and tough cases anyone can handle.

 Her caseload will involve many types of crimes, but, she will primarily handle cases involving crimes against people. Johnnie says she will miss patrol.  But, she is looking forward to the other side of law enforcement where she will put her heart and soul into the cases and see the offender prosecuted. This is what all investigators are searching for and gets their adrenaline pumping and ready to take on another case.

Johnnie is a Bridge City High School graduate. In high school she excelled in sports such as softball. After high school she Lamar-Orange where she studied criminal justice. During this time she also interned at the Sheriff’s Office. She graduated from the police academy in 2006. Johnnie has her advanced peace officers license.

The people at the Sheriff’s Office became like family and Johnnie knew this was where she wanted to be. However, at the time there were not any patrol positions available. Johnnie took the next available job, but it was in dispatch. This was not a totally bad thing since this opportunity helped prepare her for life on patrol. Within eight months her chance to work on patrol became available and she readily took it. She plans to keep her telecommunications license active in case she is needed.

“This is something I have always wanted to do since I was 12 years old,” Johnnie said. “I knew I wanted to make a difference.”

During high school, Johnnie dreamed of becoming a police officer and moving to a big city. Since then her plans have changed.

“I am grounded here,” Johnnie said.

Johnnie is happily married and has two step-daughters. When not at work, she prefers to spend time with her family.

She hopes to be an inspiration to not only the girls in her life, but to others as well. Johnnie worked hard to achieve her dreams and she encourages other females to do the same.

There are close to 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States at all levels of government, which employ nearly 800,000 full-time law enforcement officers. In 1971, the FBI first started tracking a gender breakdown of police officers. Although the statistics are dated regarding policewomen, there are a little more than 100,000 female police officers in the United States. Women  have made progress over the years. In 1971 women made up only 1.4 percent of all police officers. Today policewomen account for more than 13 percent of police officers, and they serve in all types and sizes of police agencies, in all ranks, in all kinds of work assignments, and in all parts of the country, according to information from the Uniform Crime Report.

“if you are a female, you can’t let it discourage you,” Johnnie said. “All officers bring something different.”

Johnnie took her job as a patrol deputy knowing she was the first female in 14 years to do the job. She hopes she is not the last and there are more females aspiring to become police officers.