By Rebecca Drew
MEET the fitness-loving police officer who has amassed 21.6K followers on Instagram in just seven months after sharing side-splitting pictures and videos of her life on the beat which she hopes will change public opinion of the police.
Incredible photos show blonde bombshell Ashley Smith (29) from Onondaga County, NY, USA flexing her impressive biceps from the comfort of her patrol car, holding a raccoon that she rescued and getting ready to work out in the gym.
Hilarious video footage shows ditsy Ashley, who has been a cop for nine years, performing a comedy skit about returning to work after a holiday and forgetting what she has to do.
Despite this amusing routine, Ashley explained how her career hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs.
“To be honest the beginning of my career was very rough; I had a chief of police at my first agency that did not like women and who did everything in his power to get us fired,” she explained.
“There were four females hired at the same time and three of them were fired. They tried to fire me but I did nothing wrong for them to have any reason to, I’ll never forget being told by my boss that ‘women do not belong in this field’ and that I was meant to be ‘seen and not heard’. I cried.
“I was 21-years-old and mortified as he did this in front of a large group of co-workers. When I went to complain things got much worse. I was taken out of my patrol vehicle and put on a bicycle for nine out of the twelve months of the year. In New York it’s cold and snows for six out of the twelve months.
“It took me five years to finally be able to sneak away and get hired by my current agency where my chief here is the most amazing respecting man I’ve ever met besides my father.
“He looked me in the eyes and told me he was giving me a chance, fast forward four years and he tells me I’m one of the best hires he has ever had and says he is lucky he was able to hire me.
“In New York women are still treated very badly, like we don’t belong, it’s come leaps and bounds but it’s still terrible.”
Ashley works 40 hours a week at one police department and does one shift a week at another agency. She works in the patrol, training and traffic division and is also a taser, missing person, domestic violence and rape aggression defence instructor.
She teaches at the police, volunteer police and citizens police academy and says that young girls wanting to join the force should research their departments carefully.
“They should do their research on the department they are choosing. Make sure it’s a female friendly department. Tell them to stay quiet and keep their head down until they can trust their partners and get to know them,” she explained.
“Also make friends with the other women and don’t feel threatened by them, remember we are all in the same small boat in a male dominated field.
“Do not take things personally, have a solid support system, explain things to your family so they understand and do not bring your work home or your personal life to work.
“I’m lucky I have created a very well-known positive name for myself and that’s because I am empathetic, kind, compassionate and I have no problem talking to anyone.
“I’ll sit on someone’s couch, someone’s table, porch or anything and just chat with them and people respect that. I’m here to help people, not hurt people and I want to change the opinion people have of police.
“I’ll do that one person at a time and by being kind and by being a human being. I stop and chat with everyone even on the side of the road, at the store or gas station, I’ll play with the kids and I’ll chat with parents and the homeless.”
When she’s not at work, Ashley works out in the gym and loves to take part in tough mudder events.
“It is extremely important to stay fit, not only so you can chase after someone, keep up with someone and fit in your uniform but ultimately to be able to fight for your life if you need to,” added Ashley.
“People observe you before you observe them, they size you up. If they see an overweight officer with his uniform looking terrible they are going to test that officer and will push them and underestimate their abilities and might even challenge them.
“If they see a neat, fit, squared away cop they might second guess trying to fight with them.
“I want to convey that I am a human being, I believe there is still faith in humanity, and I am out here trying to humanise the badge.
“I plan to change the world’s opinion of police officers one video, one picture, one call, one kind gesture, one smile, one hug and one person at a time.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/ashualee02