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Intersections: A ride that changed a life

March 19, 2014|By Liana Aghajanian

Lt. Lola Abrahamian never intended to become a police officer. She was already enjoying a fruitful and rewarding career she had had since graduating from college, but an interest in criminal law and a chance meeting with the Glendale Police Department led to a ride-along that completely changed the course of her life.

“I went out on the ride-along and I thought this is what I want to do. It was just fun and exciting and I thought, well, this is a lot more fun than becoming a lawyer,” she said with the kind of enchanting, contagious laugh that makes you want to laugh, too. “The problem was that nobody really thought I was serious, because of what I was doing and what I wanted to do.”

What she was doing was a world away from law enforcement. For 14 years, Abrahamian worked in the field of reproductive biology. With combined degrees in microbiology and chemistry, she was a lead embryologist in several Southern California in vitro fertilization facilities, including one of the country’s largest sperm banks.

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The leap from giving someone the chance to become parents to patrolling the streets was a big one. And though she loved her career, she was leaning toward a change, one that she was very serious about following through with.

“I tell people, imagine what a wonderful and intriguing thing it is to be able to look at a single sperm and a single egg and then look at a fertilized egg and embryo and then nine months later, see a live baby,” she said. “To this day, I miss it. I didn't leave because I didn't like the career, I just had gone as far as I could go.”

After three years as a reserve, Abrahamian transitioned to a patrol officer, but her roles and opportunities within the department have been plentiful and diverse. She was once a crisis negotiator for the city's SWAT team, worked as a detective in financial crime and assault units and because of her science background, oversaw the fairly new Verdugo Regional Crime Laboratory.

Promoted to lieutenant in 2010, she became North Area Commander last summer. This coming April will be her 14-year anniversary with the Glendale Police Department.

She is in all senses of the word a self-confessed anomaly. With two careers blossoming at different stages in her life, her entrance into law enforcement strays away from the normal career trajectory of a police officer.

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