Women’s History Month: Officer Shannon Sell

This year, for Women’s History Month, we’re honoring our staff members and female MDT Partners who are truly making a difference in their field.

Please meet Officer Shannon Sell!


  • # of years in this field:

    • I have been a police officer for 12 years. I have conducted out juvenile investigations for the past 6 years.

  • This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is “Providing healing and Promoting Hope.” How do you provide healing and/or promote hope in your line of work?

    • I attempt to provide healing in many ways.  I first attempt to develop trust with my victims, which is the most important piece.  Sadly, so many of our victims do not trust people, and  I realize that without trust, I do not have much of anything.  I then try to validate the situation for the victims, by spending time having them recognize they are wounded and this will not be an easy process, but TOGETHER with the teams’ help we will try to get them justice they deserve.  I take into account their thoughts and feelings with charging (decision to prosecute) to give them some control back in their lives.  I then try to assist them with confronting the problem(s) and having them realize this situation is not their fault and they should now look at moving forward.  I have been creative in my promoting healing (I have been asked to sit in a counseling session, I have been asked to meet a boyfriend of a victim, and I have made time to sit and just spend time with victims who just wanted to talk).  Again there is not one case that is the same and everyone has different needs.  Thankfully these cases are not “cookie cutter”.  I also recognize that my job does not end after a case is over.  I have made it a point to stay in contact with many of my victims. I have been told by numerous school officials that this means the world to these victims.

  • What sparked your interest in this field?/ What led you to pursue a career in law enforcement?

    • I have always had an interest in crimes against women and children.  I have worked as a registered nurse for over 25 years where I worked with sexually abused women and children.  I quickly became an annoyance for investigators who would come into the emergency department and collect evidence and not engage in the victims.  Or their short sassy way, “I’ll follow up once we get the results back”, quickly became unacceptable to me.  I felt in my heart that I needed to do more and follow this dream to help these victims when they were vulnerable.  So in my mid 30’s having a career, being married and having four children of my own I jumped in the deep end to follow my dream.

  • Is there another female in this field who inspired you, or has been a mentor to you?

    • I have had many people who have inspired me over the years. These people have been my victims.  I am truly shocked every single day when I would talk to my victims, the bravery and perseverance they have.  When I speak to these young folks who have may have been mentally abused, physically abused, or sexually abused and they get up every day carrying the baggage and trying to figure this all out, it gives me the drive to be their rock.  Working as a nurse in the emergency room, working as a hospice nurse and working as a police officer, I truly recognized in my role as an officer is really where I have saved lives.

  • If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?

    • If I was able to give myself advice when I was younger, it would be to not be so hard on yourself.  I have always wanted to do better and feel as though I do not do enough.  I would not want to be a perfectionist.  I would advice people to make sure they have an out and enjoy time with their family and friends.  There are many days that I am married to my job and it comes before anything else in my life. While I’m not sad about it because my family accepts that’s who I am, I wish I would have trained myself differently when I was young.

  • What advice would you have for another female considering a career in law enforcement?

    • I would tell another female officer to be strong. Do not be intimidated or feel as though you should be pushed around. If you believe in something make it happen, no matter what it takes.  Keep yourself mentally healthy and fit because this is a tough job. You soon come to realize that you are the voice for so many who do not feel they have one.  As a female you are admired and looked up to by so many. Never lose your ability to communicate. Your mouth is the very best tool that we carry.

  • Favorite Quote?

    • “A strong woman stands for herself, a stronger woman stands up for everyone else”