CLEVELAND - Officer Anna Mercado has been with the Cleveland Police Department for 17 years.
"Right now, I'm in community policing. I am the DARE instructor and I go to the different schools in the area and I teach the children about safety," said Mercado.
After working the first shift Monday, Mercado was on her way home when she witnessed a robbery.
"As I was going up 24th street, I saw three males running with a female running behind them. So instantly, I thought they robbed her. So I pulled over and got out," said Mercado.
Mercado immediately went into 'officer mode,' even though she was off-duty.
She chased down one of the suspects and managed to handcuff him with the help of a good Samaritan.
“Part of me was like, oh, I am going to be late for my appointment. The other part was like, you have to stop. As an officer, it is. It's part of our instincts. When you see something happening, you just have to react,” said Mercado.
Later that same night, Mercado took five young girls to an advanced screening of Disney's animated movie Zootopia.
Mercado had volunteered and took the at-risk kids to the movie on her own time.
The movie is fitting because it features a female detective trying to prove she is a good cop.
"I don't see myself as a hero. I see myself as a helper. With my faith, I see myself as one of God's helpers. I'm out here doing something good," said Mercado.
By the way, Officer Mercado was the Cleveland Police Foundation's Officer of the Year for 2014.