“When I signed up for law enforcement, even though it was spoken about that you put on the vest, badge, and gun on, and you go where there’s gunfire, versus running away from it, it wasn’t as prevalent as it is now where police officers have been killed and on a more regular basis,” she says. “Law enforcement has really changed over the last decade. It’s more dangerous. The community hasn’t always been supportive.” She tells me about an officer who was recently shot while he was putting gas in his car. “There are some people that really hate what we stand for, so whether it’s here in Albuquerque or in New York or in L.A., anybody that represents that — you have somewhat of a target on you.”
She estimates she’s been to about 20 funerals in her career. “When an officer gets killed in the line of duty, we all come together for comfort and support, not only for one another but for the person’s family,” she says. “[It’s] the sense of a brotherhood or sisterhood.”
But she’s also a pillar of her community. She’s respected, well known, and — thanks to her affinity for glittery belts — easy to spot. Nearly everywhere we go to eat or for coffee in the span of three days, retired cops, active police officers, and women she’s helped come to greet her. “Outside of my regular duties, I really am just a very average person,” she says.
There’s no broad-strokes, textbook solution to Albuquerque’s problems. But Hoffman’s initiative, Women Against Crime
, is a more nuanced step forward in a city divided.
Women Against Crime, or WAC, is a free, nine-week program to teach awareness and self-defense to local citizens — mostly women. It’s become not only a source of empowerment and education for the women of Albuquerque, but has helped satisfy a request from the community at large: humanizing the police force. Hoffman is beloved on a police force the citizens of Albuquerque otherwise distrust.