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Behind the Badge: 9/11 tragedy inspires Draper Patrol Officer Kristy Madrigal to a career of helping people

Behind the Badge

DRAPER (ABC4 News) – You might do a double-take the first time you see Draper Police Officer Kristy Madrigal because she doesn’t exactly fit most people’s idea of a cop but whatever you do, don’t call her – or sell her  – short.

She stands just 4 feet 11 inches tall and she’s been told she looks younger than her 30 years.

“I get a lot of different comments,” Officer Madrigal told Behind the Badge. “Sometimes it’s you know ‘You don’t even look old enough to be a cop’. I’ve gotten ‘You’re too pretty to do this job’.”

But don’t underestimate her ability of determination. From getting teased to getting tased, she confidently handles whatever comes her way.

“It can be a lot more difficult as a female officer. I don’t get taken as seriously,” she said. “Me being a smaller officer and a female officer you know there’s times where people think I’m an easy target.”

She’s wanted to work in law enforcement since watching the 9/11 attacks on TV in her hometown of Vancouver, Washington.

“I was in 6th grade but I knew there was a lot of hurt people. A lot of people that needed help,” Officer Madrigal remembered. “I felt really bad and I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”

She worked as a TSA officer first in Texas, then in Utah before joining the Salt Lake City Police Department as a dispatcher, then joining Draper PD where she now patrols the city on the graveyard shift. She was one of the first responders on scene at a house fire in July 2019 that left a 61-year-old woman dead, a six-year-old boy burned and the house destroyed.

“That was there family home for many, many years, his dad had built the home,” she said. “I just felt awful and wanted to do whatever I could to help so I got some donations together furniture, clothes, gift cards and I was able to take it to that family.”

Officer Madrigal still stays in touch with them also created pink patches which she sells to raise money for breast cancer research, fulfilling the promise she made as a 12-year-old girl.

“This job’s very hard at times and can be very tragic at times,” she said. “But ultimately…at the end of every single shift there’s at least one person I was able to help and that’s enough for me. I like helping people so I just go for it. There’s really no slowing down for me, yet. I’m sure there will be one day.”

Officer Madrigal certainly isn’t slowing down anytime soon. After working a 10 hour overnight shift, then spending two hours with Behind the Badge, she headed up to Brighton for a day of snowboarding. 

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