Michaela McKinzie always knew she wanted to become a police officer. It was a calling. Her mother, a Los Angeles Police Department police officer for 20 years, was a major factor in her decision to pursue law enforcement as a career.
“I idolized her,” said McKinzie. “Growing up in Los Angeles also influenced my decision to become a law enforcement officer. I wanted to help those who were unable to help themselves. Also, for other women and girls to be proud to see a woman in uniform.”
McKinzie attended the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Academy, and was stationed at West Valley Detention Center (WVDC). Soon after she was transferred to Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center (GHRC) for about four years. She was assigned to Central Patrol Station in San Bernardino for about three years before coming to Yucaipa, earlier this year as a Yucaipa Police Department deputy sheriff. Her main duties are to protect the liberty, safety, and property of its citizens.
“For the short time that I have been stationed here in Yucaipa, I have fallen in love with the way this city supports and cares for its law enforcement community,” said McKinzie. “There is not one day that goes by where someone doesn’t tell me, ‘Thank you for your service and we appreciate you.’”
She said the city has welcomed her with open arms and that Yucaipa is “its own little gem here in the Inland Empire.”
As a young female in law enforcement, there are some unique challenges. McKinzie said female deputies are not always taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
“That assumption I find is based purely on looks,” she said. “Once we, as female officers, start handling our cases, calls for service, and paperwork, that assumption goes by the wayside. To any other women interested in the field, I would say come and join me. Be my sister in arms and let’s show the world nothing is impossible.”
When she isn’t working, McKinzie enjoys dancing and is a huge fan of the Marvel Universe.
“In fact, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther are my favorites,” she said. “The way they always find a way to do the right thing … I believe we can all aspire to that.”
Perhaps Yucaipa has its own superhero role model and she wears a badge.