ST. LOUIS – Tawanna Simms had wanted to be a cheerleader when she was 12 years old.
It was a dream that her single mother couldn’t make true for her while rearing five children in a public housing complex.
So she stepped into a boxing ring instead that was within walking distance.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports her skills caught the attention of a local boxing coach and a St. Louis police officer.
The two had her spar with female police officers training for an annual event that features firefighters boxing police officers to raise money for families of fallen first responders.
She secretly listened as they swapped stories about their jobs, and decided she wanted to be a police officer someday.
Simms now patrols the St. Louis’ neighborhood where she grew up.