Behind the Badge: Maria Pallares Ochoa

Maria Pallares Ochoa

Southeast District officer says she sees the support the people of Indianapolis offers to IMPD

Compiled by Meghan McCormick

Maria Pallares Ochoa. Photo by Meghan McCormick.

As officer Maria Pallares Ochoa approaches the one year mark with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Deparment, she said she is grateful to have joined the Southeast District.

¨Now that I have been here, I love it,” she said. “I got to know the people I work with, the people I work for. Where ever they need me, I’d love to do the job.¨

Originally from Chicago, Pallares Ochoa moved to Indianapolis with her six siblings and parents when she was 14. After graduating Warren Central High School, Pallares Ochoa married her husband, Hugo Pallares. She started working at Gordon Food Service, with a plan to eventually go into law enforcement.

¨The management knew what I wanted to do and were pretty encouraging,” she said.

On June 8, 2015, Pallares Ochoa was appointed and the next day she started at the academy. On April 19, 2016, she was hired onto the Southeast District of IMPD.

While living and training on the Southeast side, Pallares Ochoa said, ¨ We have a lot of people that really support us. That’s around the city, but since I’ve worked around here, I’ve seen it. People gives me a thumbs up. When I respond to an accident, people will bring me a bottle of water.¨

What was your inspiration to become a police officer?

Ever since I was real young, I looked up to officers. They seemed cool: everything I saw on the news about officers, firemen and everybody else just helping out. I wanted to help people.

What has been one of your most gratifying moments on the job?

Random little kids coming up to you and hugging you or saying ‘hi.’ I reported to an accident a few months ago and there was an 8-year-old girl in the backseat of one of the vehicles. While waiting for a wrecker to tow away her mom’s car, she draws me a picture of a heart that says ‘I love you’ and hands it over and says, ‘hey thank you for all you do; my mom tells me you guys are good guys.’

What aspect of the job do you find most challenging?

Running into the same people, victims and suspects, over and over even after trying to help them out. We have a heroin problem all over the states, and will run into the same guy or girl week after week. We have resources we can push towards… It might work for a minute and then they are back on the street doing the same thing. People just have to want to help themselves at the end.

What do you enjoy doing in your off-time?

Just being with my husband and family. I have been married almost 10 years though, right out of high school. My husband is into instruments, so lately I have been catching onto what he is doing. I don’t know how to read music, but I know how to copy. We recently got an accordion, and it is actually kind of fun.

What are your future goals, professionally or personally?

Once I get a few years on, I’d like to start a family. As far as career goals, at the moment I really like (being) a patrol officer. Traffic stops, 911 calls, that is what interests me right now. I like interacting with people. Just like you get to know suspects, you get to know the good people and the kids.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a police officer?

I don’t know, honestly. Right after I turned 21, I tried out for state, did not make it very far into the process at all, and I was very disappointed. I was thinking, what am I going to do now? Even from 21 to 26, the time it took me to apply again and actually get hired, there was nothing else on my mind. I was working, but I still had this in the background of what I wanted to do.