LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- She made history as the first Hispanic female cop in Kentucky, but it's what Louisville Metro Police Officer Minerva Virola did for the last two decades that's made a difference in Louisville forever.
"She's a tough police officer, but she has a big heart," said Noemi Robinson.
Robinson knows Ofc. Virola's heart first hand. The two met a few years ago in a citizens police academy Virola was teaching.
"She taught me it's not just that I should help Hispanics, it doesn't matter the color, it doesn't matter where you are from, where you are, you need to help," said Robinson.
Virola lives by that very philosophy of helping others. She says it's been her goal since she joined the Louisville Police Department in 1994. "Always to give and always be real and just give all you have," Virola said.
She has done that and then some. She has been a champion for Louisville's Hispanic community by helping create a Spanish anonymous tip line.
She's also spent hours teaching her fellow officers Spanish and aimed to erase the negative stereotypes associated with cops by creating the Latino Citizens Police Academy.
"That helped me learn about the city, about what police officers do and the good stuff that sometimes citizens don't know," Robinson said.
Robinson and Virola have developed a lasting friendship, something Virola has done time and time again. She has made such an impact on Robinson and others, they wanted to say one last thank you before Officer Virola retire by nominating her to be the Hidden Hero for June.
WDRB's Jennifer Baileys presented Officer Virola the award in front of a group of Metro Police employees.
Virola says her retirement is the beginning of a whole new focus.
"I have a goal to continue mentoring young girls in our community and providing a scholarship and opportunity to go to college," said Virola.
Officer Virola officially retires in August.
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