Tri-Cities native pursues lifelong dream - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities native pursues lifelong dream

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PASCO, WA - One Pasco police officer is the epitome of the often-used saying "it's never too late to pursue your dreams". 22 years into the serious business of raising kids, she decided to make a career change.

It's a dream that Julie Lee never gave up on. At 40 years old, she's one of the newest officers with the Pasco Police Department.

"Since I was little this is what I wanted," said Lee. "But life happened. I had kids, got married and when my kids got out of school age I thought, 'well you want to go back to work, but what do you want to do? You still want to be a police officer'."

After high school, she put herself through college at Columbia Basin College, graduating with a degree in criminal justice. As a young mother, she then went on to become a loss prevention officer, but that didn't quite cut it for her.

"This is my purpose in life," said Lee. "This is what I was designed to do."

It was no cake walk getting here. Lee has three kids ranging from 22 years old to just five years old. To pursue this life-long dream, Lee had to make a huge sacrifice. She moved away from her family for five months to train for the police academy, saying it was the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

"It's not an easy road," said Lee. "Not at all. Not an easy road, but it should be that way. I don't believe that this job should be easy to get."

Lee knows being a police officer comes with many challenges, and being one of the smallest on the force, she says she's more than ready and capable to meet them head-on.

"I may be small, I'm the smallest one within the department, but I'll do mighty things," said Lee. "Small but mighty."