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The women behind the badges; Alexandria police officers share their insights

This is the first in a two-part series dedicated to women in law enforcement.

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series dedicated to women in law enforcement.

ALEXANDRIA — In the May/June issue of the Echo Press’ Chicz magazine, women in law enforcement were featured in celebration of National Police Week.

National Police Week is a collaborative effort of many organizations dedicated to honoring America’s law enforcement community.

Although National Police Week was established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962 as a way to pay special recognition to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, this two-part series would like to pay tribute to the women law enforcement officers who work with the Alexandria Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

In this first part of the series, read about Alexandria Police Officers, Abigail Mumme and Darcie Zirbes, and why they chose a career in law enforcement, what is the most rewarding part of their jobs, the most challenging and more.

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Abigail Mumme

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Abigail Mumme

Abigail Mumme is a patrol officer for the Alexandria Police Department. She attended Alexandria Technical and Community College for a degree in law enforcement and was hired in Alexandria right after graduation.

Q: How long have you been with the Alexandria Police Department and what are your current duties?

A: I have been working at the police department for just over nine months. My duties include responding to calls for service, patrolling the city of Alexandria and rendering public services.

Q: Why did you want to become a law enforcement officer or what drew you to this career path?

A: I have always admired the police officers in my hometown and knew that I wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Every day is a new challenge and brings something new to learn from. I enjoy the variety in calls and being able to help people at their worst.

Q: What part of your job is the most rewarding and what part is the most challenging?

A: One of the most challenging parts is seeing the negative side of the community. There are a lot of dangerous and sad calls we respond to that can build up if you don’t keep up with your mental health. Meanwhile, the most rewarding part is helping during those situations. We get to help citizens who are in urgent need and bring about positive changes at difficult points in someone’s life.

Q: What advice would you have for a young woman considering going into law enforcement?

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A: Do not surround yourself with only law enforcement. Work can be very stressful and you do not want to bring that home with you every day. Continue to enjoy hobbies and
activities with friends and family outside of work. Finally, keep your mental health well by doing something for your mind, body and soul every day.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: When I am not at work, I am most likely seen at the gym, lifting weights. I have been a host family for both the Northstar Knights and Blizzard teams in town so I go to multiple hockey games in the winter. In the summer, I spend the day swimming in the lake, reading a good book or sketching a drawing. I also love spoiling my three nieces whenever I visit.

Darcie Zirbes

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Darcie Zirbes

Darcie Zirbes has worked with the Alexandria Police Department for 15 years. Prior to moving to Alexandria, she worked as a corrections officer with Sherburne County while finishing up her master’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Cloud State University.

She grew up in a law enforcement family – her dad retired from law enforcement after 35 years. That is where her love for the career grew.

Darcie and her husband, Chris, have been married for 15 years and have two boys – Connor and Grayson. They also have a dog, Granby, who is just over 2 years old.

Q: How long have you been with the Alexandria Police Department and what are your current duties?

A: I have worked with the Alexandria Police Department for 15 years. I am currently working in a new assignment as part of the ACCESS (A Community Collaboration of Enhanced Support Strategies) team. This team is a partnership between the police department and North Memorial. A community paramedic and I follow up on different wellness concerns Alexandria community members have and assist them in connecting to resources available to better their overall health and wellness.

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Q: Why did you want to become a law enforcement officer or what drew you to this career path?

A: I had an interest in law enforcement as I grew up. Growing up in law enforcement and seeing some of what my dad went through during his career, I was a little hesitant to enter this field even though it was one of interest and passion for me. It is a career that really impacts the entire family and your way of life. I had other interests as well, so I tried several other majors in college but just kept coming back to criminal justice. I simply couldn’t stay away and nothing else felt like it “fit,” so I followed my passion and I have loved the journey.

Q: What part of your job is the most rewarding and what part is the most challenging?

A: There are so many things in my career that are rewarding. I can’t really say there is one thing that is most rewarding. I loved building relationships with the kids at Discovery Middle School while I was the School Resource Officer. The ACCESS team has given me so much joy already being able to assist those in our community who are needing some assistance maneuvering the resources available.

Calls involving children are definitely the most challenging for me. It doesn’t matter if it is because they or a family member is sick or injured, they have seen violence or been the victim themselves. Those are the calls that can break my heart in one moment.

Q: What advice would you have for a young woman considering going into law enforcement?

A: I would tell any young woman considering law enforcement that if it is what is in your heart, then follow it. I can’t imagine doing something else and being as happy in my career as I am. There are tough days, and you see and handle some tough things; you need to always remember to take the time to take care of yourself.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: When I am not working, I love spending time with my family. We enjoy playing board games, watching movies at home and spending time on the lake. Both of my boys are quite active, especially with wrestling, so we spend a lot of time at wrestling events. When I get some time all to myself, I love to read; I can read for hours. It is a hobby but it is also my time to unwind from everything required of me as a mom, a wife and police officer.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects lead and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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