Yolanda Spears, Class of 1989 (AA), 1999 (AS)

1998 Distinguished Alumni Recipient

I always knew I wanted to be a police officer, but my family and friends laughed at the idea. At 5-foot-two, I'm not exactly the type to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. But I knew what I wanted and the idea always stayed in my heart. I graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree from OWCC in 1989, then determined to make the life for myself I had always wanted.   Returning to college as an adult is a daunting task for anyone. But OWCC stood behind me and gave me the skills and confidence I needed to complete my education and make a career change in mid life. I am particularly proud of the education I received at OWCC and always tell others to go there if they are interested in a career in law enforcement. The instructors challenged me, supported me, encouraged me, and made my determination to succeed stronger than I imagined possible.

I attended OWCC's Basic Recruit Academy in Law Enforcement and received my Associate of Science Degree in 1994. After receiving my degree, I was hired by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's office, and now serve on the Milton police force.

As a police officer in Milton, I organize Neighborhood Watch programs which have been instrumental in reducing drug trafficking in this small community. My work in Milton was the decisive factor in my selection as the Santa Rosa County Law Enforcement Office of the Year for 1997. I am the only woman on the Milton police force, but know that age and gender do not matter when a person is committed to making a difference.

Okaloosa-Walton Community College gave me the grounding I needed and the educational background necessary to become a productive police officer. My goal is to give enough back to the community to make OWCC as proud of me as I am to have been one of its students.

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