Paving the Path: Meet MDPD North Operations Division Chief Delma Noel-Pratt

As one of the top women in law enforcement in South Florida, Chief Delma Noel-Pratt says not a day goes by where she doesn't feel she's got something to prove.

The Miami-Dade Police Department North Operations Division Chief started out on patrol 23 years ago. Today, the Special Response Team is just one of her responsibilities. Under her command are some of the most important economic engines in the region - PortMiami and Miami International Airport.

"It is a big responsibility," Noel-Pratt told NBC 6. "We have to make sure that secure those two entities day in and day out because they are targets. They are places of opportunity."

Noel-Pratt has gone from patrol on the Northwest section of Miami-Dade, to policing public housing, then tackling white collar crime in the public corruption unit.

As one of few African-American women in leadership positions, she tells NBC 6 that she always felt a drive to be her very best, and a responsibility to prove daily that she could handle the challenges of the job.

"This male dominant career that we have right here, You basically have to prove yourself," she said, adding that she is very proud to represent all women in law enforcement.

Noel-Pratt says one of the most important aspects of her job is to build bridges in communities where police and law enforcement don't always see eye to eye.

She hopes to be an example to other young women who may want to follow in her footsteps -- especially her own daughter.

She advises young women who are considering a career in law enforcement to work hard in school, constantly work at it and never lose focus.

"That's the biggest challenge that we have," she said. "That we are constantly having to prove ourselves."

With all the pressures and challenges of the job, Noel-Pratt remains proud of her part in paving the path for future law enforcement leaders.

"As a black female, I am very proud to be in this profession," she says.

NBC 6 South Florida is celebrating Black History Month by honoring women who are Paving the Path. How are you or a woman you admire #PavingthePath? Tweet us at @nbc6 and let us know!

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