Marissa Chapman felt a great sense of community, security and safety while growing up in a close-knit Canberra street with a police officer living just down the road. This was the inspiration which led her to a career in the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
"It was just something I knew I wanted to do from a very young age. We lived in such a great street with a fantastic role model,' Marissa said.
Now she is doing her part to keep her community safe, working on legal reform with the AFP's Prosecution and Judicial Support's Research and Planning area.
Marissa has been involved in a range of community, national and international operations in her six years with the AFP. This included five weeks in Thailand in 2005 following the tsunami, where she was a member of the Australian Missing Persons Team.
She cemented her passion for policing during her first 18 months doing general duties.
"I just loved the excitement and the fact that you wake up every morning and you just don't know what you are going to be facing at work."
After gaining a good grounding in community policing, Marissa moved into an investigative role with the pro-active team, which deals with the stolen motor vehicles, burglaries and minor drug crime.
"That gave me a taste of more in-depth investigations, warrants and fast turnovers."
She moved to Sydney to build on her investigative skills, working in counter terrorism and national operations.
"It was really high profile, very political, busy and high stress. I was dealing with a lot of sensitive information and external agencies."
Wanting to grow and further her studies, Marissa took the opportunity provided through the AFP's Professional Development Scheme to study.
"I moved back to Canberra to finish my law degree and took on a job in Brief Management, which offered me the flexibility to study but also the chance to use the legal skills I was gaining through my degree. I also had the opportunity to take on the role of an Acting Sergeant."
While doing further study to become a qualified solicitor, Marissa spent three months working for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which provided a great insight into another side of the law.
"Working and liaising closely with DPP and courts was fantastic. It gave me the chance to look at things from a different perspective.
"Both the AFP and DPP play such key roles in the legal process, but they don't always understand how each other operates. I can be the middle person, which is really beneficial. I have also made some great contacts."
Marissa is now the Acting Team Leader in Research and Planning, working on long-term projects, law reform proposals and legal initiatives.
"The best thing is being able to use my legal skills and also learning management skills."
Marissa's husband is in the Australian Defence Force, so she needs to be able to keep her options open.
"That's one of the big drawcards of the AFP - the flexibility is so great and there are so many opportunities out there for you. There is so much scope to move around and find a job that you really enjoy."
While Marissa already has a job she loves, she is still keen to diversify.
"I'd like to spend some time at AFP legal and get experience being a solicitor. But my heart will always stay with ACT policing, so I will always gravitate back here."