93-year-old former police captain has been sworn back into service at TSU

KTRK logo
Saturday, July 29, 2023
93-year-old former police captain sworn back into service at TSU
Female TSU police officer, who retired 30 years ago, will be sworn in again.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former police officer at the Texas Southern University Police Department has returned to service!

Melba Ozenne is 93 years old and was sworn in as an officer during a special ceremony Friday morning. She retired from TSU police decades ago.

At the time, Ozenne was the first female officer on the force. She later moved her way up through the ranks to captain before her retirement.

Friday morning's ceremony came together after her granddaughter Laura Lawrence reached out to TSU just 24 hours earlier hoping they could honor her grandmother.

Ozenne is battling cancer and told her family that her years on the police force at TSU brought fond memories.

Family and friends were on hand for Ozenne's swearing-in on the TSU campus.

"I am the only grandchild that took after my grandmother and became law enforcement," Lawrence told the crowd while fighting back tears.

Lawrence serves as an officer with the Houston Police Department.

"I'm so glad for TSU. You guys have done an amazing job. From my phone call yesterday morning to us coming up here, I mean, you guys did all of this in less than 24 hours," Lawrence said.

In honor of her swearing-in ceremony, Lawrence presented her grandma with a case filled with TSU police badges and patches signifying service to the community.

Ozenne was administered the officer's oath of office by current TSU police captain Leslie Etheridge.

"I want to personally thank you again as the captain of police here at TSU PD. Without you, there would be no me. So I thank you as being the first female officer and rising to the rank of captain and paving the way for those who are going to come behind us," Etheridge told Ozenne.

Ozenne told the crowd she appreciated the distinguishment. "I am honored and I am grateful to God that he let me see 93 years old. I didn't expect this. I am so grateful. Thank you," Ozenne said.

TSU Police Chief Bobby Brown told Ozenne she was a trailblazer for people of color in law enforcement.

"We thank you and we honor you on this day and forevermore because if it wasn't for someone like you, there would not be a Chief Bobby Brown," Brown said.