Arab Dearborn officer hopes to be role model for young women

Despite 21-year-old Mariam Hoballah having just officially become a police officer, she has actually been working at the Dearborn Police Department for about five years. The Dearborn resident began her stint with the department while she was attending Fordson High School, when she got a position as a Dearborn police explorer. 

The youth program is dedicated to teaching local high school students training tactics and assists in shaping and molding future police officers. Hoballah is a prime example of the program's benefits. "The explorer post and the internship programs we have helped me tremendously," Hoballah said. "It was a stepping stone to help me get where I am. I would recommend it to other police departments as well." 

After obtaining an associate's degree from Henry Ford College and a bachelor's in criminal justice at Madonna University, Hoballah was sent to the police academy at Oakland University, under the police department. On Monday, December 19, she was sworn in as an officer at the Dearborn Performing Arts Center. 

On the 26th, she will begin her first day as a full-time officer on patrol. On some weeks, she may be required to work up to 60 hours a week. Hoballah acknowledged that she is an anomaly–a female Arab American officer. But she said that never once deterred her from her ambitions. "Being a female should never stop someone from doing what you want to do," Hoballah said. 

"As far as being Arab American, my family has been supportive. Some people probably don't believe it, but if you have your mind set, then talk to your parents and tell them that's what you love to do. Support of family and friends is very important. A woman can do it as long as she has her mind set to it." 

Hoballah said there's a welcoming and supportive environment at the Dearborn Police Department, calling it her "second home." "Honestly, everyone is down to earth," she said. "If they see anyone struggling, they help them out. I literally have two families. One at home and one at work. Whatever the new people need, they are always there for us. As far me being a minority, I get treated like everyone does there." 

Being a long-time Dearborn resident, she said she is proud to be serving the community and hopes to set a precedent for other Arab American women who have an interest in criminal justice or law enforcement. "It's better for me to work for the community I've grown up with," Hoballah said. "I know people who went to high school and college here. It's more of a positive thing. The younger kids can have someone to look up to." 

By Samer Hijazi

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