The daughter of a Los Angeles Police officer, Amber Ramsey knew from the time she was a little girl that she wanted to follow in her dad’s footsteps.
It was no surprise when Ramsey joined the Los Angeles Police Department, entering the police academy as soon as she turned 21.
“Growing up as one of five kids, we always heard my father’s stories about the variety of stuff he got to do on the job,” recalls Ramsey, now 28. “He always came home excited and always enjoyed his work.”
What may have surprised her family, is her recent decision to leave the LAPD for a position as an officer with the Santa Ana Police Department.
“My husband and brother-in-law both work here in Santa Ana,” she explains. “I spent time talking with them and did ride-alongs with other agencies. But as soon as I did my ride-along in Santa Ana I knew that I could do proactive work here.”
After concentrating her efforts on gang prevention and enforcement in the largely Hispanic community of Pico-Union, Ramsey says she is surprised that some Santa Ana neighborhoods offer many of the same characteristics and challenges. The difference is that here, she feels SAPD is supported strongly by the city and community. In addition, she says, “I’m surprised by the camaraderie here.”
“Officers motivate each other, our supervisors are supportive, and we do lots of things as a group, as a team,” Ramsey says.
Many of her friends had questions about her father’s profession when she was growing up, Ramsey remembers. She recalls that her dad told her the biggest compliment he could get was when one of her friends said they’d never guess he was a police officer.
Growing up as the second-oldest of five kids, she recalls, “Our house was always the place to be – there were football and kickball games and all kinds of activities going on.”
“My parents always taught us to respect everyone, whether it was a police officer or a janitor,” Ramsey says.
Public service is part of their family’s DNA; an older sister is in the Air Force, her younger brother is in Army boot camp, the twins are serving in the Coast Guard, and her mother was in the Marine Corps.
Ramsey met her husband at the LAPD, where he was one class ahead of her in the police academy. They married last year.
A newlywed with a new home, Ramsey enjoys playing with her two dogs, Oso and Crash, and playing video games such as “God of War,” “Witcher,” and “Call of Duty” with her husband and, virtually, with her three brothers who live out of state.
On weekends, she and her husband enjoy cooking and grilling, and using their new smoker. For a break from the city’s well-equipped gym – where they participate in weightlifting, running, and fitness classes – they’ll go running with their dogs.
Ramsey is a big fan of DC Comics, especially “Batman” and “Superman,” and reads mystery novels as well as nonfiction books related to her job. She’s attending online classes in criminology through California Coast College.
Positively affecting people’s lives is the best part of her work as a Santa Ana police officer, Ramsey says, although she also appreciates that every day is different.
“When I begin the 5:30 a.m. patrol with a foot pursuit, it reminds me of the unpredictability of the work,” she notes. “I can’t see myself ever getting bored. The laws are always changing and evolving, and there’s always someone to learn from regarding areas of expertise.”
As a patrol officer, Ramsey is assigned to the Southeast District, east of Flower Street and south of First Street. In the future, she would like to specialize in gang enforcement and prevention.
“I’m interested in the Hispanic gangs in the area,” she says, “especially their hierarchy, rules, complexity, and history.”
She hopes to remain interested in her job for years to come.
“Most rewarding is when we get feedback that we specifically helped an individual or family,” Ramsey observes. “I love knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life.”