JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As we approach International Women’s Month in March, 12 News is recognizing remarkable women in the community. This week, 12 News’ Melanie Christopher is spotlighting finalist Angela Harper.
In mid-life, Harper became a cop.
“I was 40 when I graduated. ‘Granny’ was my nickname, because I was the oldest female, next to the oldest person in the entire class,” said Harper.
“Granny” not only graduated the academy, she was named the top cadet in physical fitness. Her son followed in her footsteps.
“And then my son came along and since I had done all that before him, his nickname was ‘Mama’s Boy’. He has to live up to that name because of me.”
When Harper was younger, she was a determined single mother.
“I drove a school bus, I worked at Sears, I did it all. And then while driving a school bus, I actually went to phlebotomy school and graduated from that and became a phlebotomist for 17 years.”
After seven years of patrolling the streets of Jackson, Harper has now brought her positive attitude, coupled with a tireless work ethic and a desire to help people be the best they can to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
“I love what I do. I love it, I love all the training that MDOC has allowed me to take to continue to help these inmates along the way.”
Harper teaches a 12 to 16 week cognitive behavioral program.
“Class consists of 24 different lessons-negotiating, behavior problems, anger management, just how to deal with life, entering out back into the real world, building a relationship back with their families. So we teach them how to do that,” she explained. “We have graduation. A lot of these guys never graduated from high school or college or whatever and they get an opportunity to walk across the stage and get a diploma… That’s very important because it makes them realize that they have completed and accomplished something.”
Completion is important to Harper. Whether it be learning to drive a school bus, successfully hitting a vein and taking blood, marksmanship on the shooting range, the MDOC top cop continues to go the distance and has no plans of stopping.