Can a female police officer also be a pageant queen? Candace Kanavel is making this far-fetched idea a possibility as she was crowned Miss Arizona USA last month. The Tempe police officer will go on to represent her state in the Miss USA competition later this year.

Kanavel has been competing in pageants for 11 years, striving for the Miss Arizona crown six times before officially winning the title. She has been aware of the “strain” between law enforcement and the community growing in recent years.

She hoped that her title would better humanize the men and women wearing the uniform, having passions, hobbies and dreams just like anyone else.

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“I’m hoping that with this title, people can see me, see that I’m a police officer and just know that all law enforcement have families, they have other hobbies that they’re interested in,” Candace Kanavel said on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday. “I think if we, not strip ourselves of the uniform necessarily, but we see past it and we get to each other on a human level and have empathy with each other, I think we’re going to start to bridge that gap between law enforcement and the community.”

After taking a criminal justice course in college, Kanavel considered becoming a police officer, especially after her professor, who was a former Phoenix police officer who introduced her to someone at the Tempe Police Department.

“The funny story about how I started is I was attending a shop with a cop event as just a volunteer, and I saw a titleholder that was there and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. I want to do that,'” she shared. “Now I’m a police officer. So, it came full circle, which is really cool.”

The Tempe Police Department shared their congratulations to Kavanel in a statement stating “We couldn’t be prouder of Officer Candace Kanavel to represent our police department. From being a police aide to a great patrol officer she has continued her growth through determination and hard work. She’s a role model, and as her hashtag states, ‘Yes, she can.'”

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