Blue Threads

Georgia Tech University Police Department Sgt Jessica Howard - Honor Behind the Badge

May 16, 2022

Jessica Howard...

We should all pause to take in that name, and the essence of this amazing woman, mother, and officer I am about to introduce to you. This "She-Ro" that I had the pleasure of writing about is absolutely extraordinary. Honestly, I don’t think I get writer's block too often, but Jessica stumped me. Not because she is hard to write about, but because she is so amazing I didn’t want to hinder or subdue her light in any way. Hopefully, I do her justice, and you get to see her the same way I did and do–as a woman of honor and an inspiration to others.

Small Town, Big Goals

Jessica Howard was born in Thomaston, a very small town in Georgia. She now resides in Atlanta, where she currently works as the Sergeant over Community and Outreach Engagement at Georgia Tech Police Department. She has worked at Georgia Tech for 8 years, but her career definitely did not begin there. Before she dedicated her life to law enforcement at the school, she was in the United States Navy for 11 years. She was a Master in Arms, where she excelled at everything she put her mind to. While she was overseas, she decided to keep pushing and accelerating within her skill set. She went back to college and received her master’s degree in Homeland Security with a minor in Cyber Security.  

While she is very happy with where she is at and what she is doing, she has goals of eventually moving into that field (cyber security) within law enforcement. I personally have no doubt she would be phenomenal at it given her history and everything she has accomplished.

While she is an extremely hard worker within the force, she is also a skilled multi-tasker outside of work. During her time in the navy and the beginnings of her law enforcement career, she was also a young mother raising a daughter. While she is happily thriving now, it doesn’t take away from all the sacrifices I am sure she made for her daughter to be able to see what a strong woman is capable of accomplishing. She became an inspirational role model and also achieved goals that prove nothing is unattainable if you put your mind to it.

Coming from a small town, Jessica expressed how there weren’t always many opportunities at hand. Her sister was in the army, so that spurred her interest in the military, which in turn gave her a vision of her future. Outside of her town, she has thrived and built a substantial and successful life. With her success and her goals, she always had the mindset that she wanted to be able to show not only her daughter what was possible…but also all young people who looked like her, and young mother’s trying to figure it out. Her town was predominately white, and at times there weren't always the best interactions with law enforcement. It became her passion and mission to expose the growth and potential beyond small towns. She focused on being someone that others can look up to and aspire to be as far as career and ambitions go.


Bridging The Gap

Jessica has such a kind and welcoming spirit that she has the ability to impact so many. Speaking with her it was so evident how much she cares about people and her community. Her passion for what she does rubs off on others. I personally felt so inspired while speaking with her. She has such a strong moral compass, and many accomplishments and awards. Yet, her humble demeanor and character represent a beautiful spirit with an open-door mentality. She is always ready to help another person and focuses highly on interactions within her community. Whether they are doing "Cocoa with the POPO", having camps like “A Day in The Life of a Cop,” “Forensic Camp” (where they focus on pretend crime scenes), or an “Adopt-a-Cop” program to connect with business and student organizations; she is always eager to bridge gaps and build relationships within her town and college. She also won an award from LAW Publications that honored her and her department for being College of the Year in 2021.

Jessica is adamant about pursuing relationships and allowing people to see who they are behind their badges. She told me a story that definitely exposes the truth of being simply “human,” regardless of her title, and uniform:

One night she was at home, and it was late. Normally her daughter would come into her room to hang out, and talk until she went to bed. Well, that night something was different…she heard her daughter crying in the next room. She called out, and her daughter didn’t answer, but she still heard the muffled cries. She knew something was off, and she got up to go check on her. Her daughter pointed to the motion lights that were in her house. One of them had been removed from the wall. Jessica’s blood ran cold, and she grabbed her gun. Obviously very aware of threats out there, Jessica had a camera that she was able to look at. She pulled up the video, and there was a man...a man who had snuck in a lower level window, and into her home. Thinking quickly, she called the police, and she was advised to wait in a room until help arrived. Fast forwarding in the story, it turned out this man had watched Jessica for a while and thought she was pretty. Giving this man a “reason” to invade her home.  

This terrifying experience proves that regardless of a uniform, she still became a victim. She isn’t invincible and suffered a true violation of her comfort zone and space.  Of course, being the "She-Ro" she is, this experience didn’t slow her down or cause her to stumble in the least. She uses any and everything in her life as motivation to become stronger, more aware, and more skilled to be able to protect herself and anyone else.

I asked Jessica for advice that she would give to others wanting to pursue law enforcement or goals in general…she answered with this:

“Don’t conform to what society expects of you.  If there are aspirations you have and goals you want to reach, then take the steps to plan and pursue. Ultimately, whatever your goals are, do not offset them for anyone or anything. You can do it.  Do your thing, and don’t let anyone stop you.  
Let your goals be your goals.  There is no time limit, and do not compare yourself to others.  Set, and move at your own pace.  Be your own competition.
Training is essential, and always research and educate yourself.  It pays off.”

Jessica’s passion is dealing with people. Communicating, and assisting others is what drives and motivates her. She definitely has the personality and compassionate soul needed to create change, awareness, and a different view. I am so blessed to have met and spoken with such a strong, intelligent, and highly successful woman. I have no doubt Sergeant Jessica Howard will be impacting and inspiring many in her future, as she has already done in her past…  

Cheers Sergeant Jessica Howard.

You are without hesitation…a true representation of a woman of honor and outstanding accomplishments. 

You have my ultimate respect.

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