Meet Homestead’s First Female ‘Motorcycle Cop’

   Jennifer Stephenson is Homestead’s first woman motorcycle officer which is not surprising to those who know Jennifer.  Jennifer follows in the footsteps of Homestead’s first motorcycle officer Charles Bryant in the 1920’s, and then in the late 50’s and early 60’s Frank Suites ,the famous Bill “Ticket” Taylor, Red McAllister and B.J. “Buddy “ Tinney, the latter three all former air policemen at Homestead Air Force Base.  Jennifer often hears stories about “Ticket” Taylor.

   Jennifer rides one of the four HPD Harley Road King motorcycles on lease to the department.  She is joined by two other full time officers and two part time officers.

   Jennifer Stephenson was born at James ArcherHospital 34 years ago to Barbara Stephenson and the late Harold Stephenson.  Jennifer grew up in Leisure City.

    She attended Berkshire School, St John’s Episcopal, South Dade High School and Miami Dade Community College. She joined the Homestead Little League softball program when she was in 6th grade, and she played on the varsity softball, volley ball and basketball teams during her four years at South Dade High and continued with a softball scholarship at Miami-Dade College.

    During her elementary school years when she was not old enough to stay by herself, she helped her Mother in the South Dade News Leader office with filing, and other office work where she also made lifelong friends.

   She showed an interest in becoming a police officer in her high school years and then studied Criminal Justice at Miami-Dade College and graduated from the Police Academy in Palm Beach County before being hired by West Palm Beach as a police officer.

   She joined the Homestead Police Department in 2008, first as a reserve officer and then in 2013 as a regular officer.

    When she told her Mother she was going to take the Police Motorcycle Course her Mom was worried but not surprised, since her first motorcycle after college was a Suzuki street bike, and her second one was a Honda Shadow. “We knew she would not like to sit behind a desk and work; from the time she was a toddler she loved the outdoors,” recalls her Mother.

   Jennifer finds avoiding getting hit by texting and inattentive drivers a great challenge.  On a motorcycle she is more aware of her surroundings than in a patrol car.

   The best part of her job is the flexibility of patrolling by motorcycle or car and being part of community events and visits to schools.  She wishes that people would not be intimidated by her as a police officer and that they would know she is not out just to give traffic tickets but to provide safety to the people of Homestead and visitors.

   Jennifer was an officer of the month in 2016.

   “Officer Stephenson has overcome a lot of hurdles to get where she is now. It’s an honor for me to be able to afford her the opportunity to be the department’s first female officer in the motor unit. She has earned it and proudly serves the citizens of our great community,” is how Homestead Police Department Chief Al Rolle summed up his appreciation of Officer Stephenson.

   In her mother Barbara’s words:  “I am very proud of Jennifer, and I know her Dad would be too. She is a wonderful, exceptional young lady whom I can count on for anything and everything. When she sets her mind on something she is willing to work hard and succeed. Of course I worry about her safety when she is patrolling the streets of Homestead, especially during these changing times. She takes pride in her job and enjoys working in the City of Homestead where she was raised.”