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Rider's Almanac Blog

Where I'm From

Where I'm From: Police Officer Hela Maurer

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, October 30, 2023 1:20:00 PM

Metro Transit employees come from many cultures and backgrounds. To celebrate this diversity, employees who are proud to share their heritage and identity will be regularly featured on the Riders' Almanac blog. Read more stories here.  

Please tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born in Ethiopia and raised there until I was 12. Every opportunity I get, I like to give credit for my grandma who raised me with good values and morals. The person I am today is because of her beautiful soul. I came to the U.S. to live with my father in Virginia before moving to Minnesota in 2000. I attended Metro State University for criminal justice. My first work in criminal justice was with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department as a detention deputy at the adult jail. I wanted to get licensed as a police officer and saw a job posting for Metro Transit Police Department. I applied and have been here 4 1/2 years now.

How did you get into law enforcement?

My journey to the U.S. made me very curious. I wanted to understand how the law worked, and I wanted to help and represent my people as well. I assist with translations into Amharic, the first national language of Ethiopia. I see passengers on the train that I can use my language for just a simple conversation. I participated in an recruitment event for Community Service Officers in Lakeville in July at the Ethiopian Day festival. I believe I'm the only female Ethiopian police officer in Minnesota. My hope is to give the younger generation knowledge that it is possible to pursue their passion.

How do you celebrate your culture?

Every holiday I try to follow the traditions my grandmother taught me, cook and teach my own kids my culture. When there is an Ethiopian festival, I attend with my husband and kids. Our favorite dish for holidays is injera (a flatbread like naan) with doro wat, a spicy chicken dish with a special sauce cooked for holidays such as Easter, Christmas and New Year's. Our Ethiopian New Year is in September. We also celebrate our culture by playing traditional music, dancing and putting on traditional outfits that I got from back home for all of us to wear on holidays, so we match.