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On Island Profile: Kishma Christian

May 4, 2007 — V.I. National Park enforcement ranger Kishma Christian, 26, is a woman with a goal.
"I plan on leaving in two years for a job with the park or federal government, but still in law enforcement," she says.
The St. Thomas-born Christian joined the park in August 2003 after spending three months studying at the Law Enforcement Academy in Asheville, N.C. She was so eager to get into the field she paid her own way, Christian says. Her journey to Asheville also necessitated leaving her husband, Lee Christian, and their son, Lee Jr., behind on St. John.
"I wanted a career in law enforcement," she says. Christian applied to both the V.I. Police Department and the park, but the park called first.
Now she's working on getting her bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix. After that's done, she'll aim for a master's degree in forensic science so she can move into that field.
After growing up in both St. Thomas and the Atlanta suburb of College Park, Christian headed off to the Atlanta Job Corps Center. She got her GED in 1999.
She came home to work first at Paradise Lumber and then Starfish Market, both on St. John, before settling in to her current path. By following a career in law enforcement she could help others avoid the mistakes she made. Christian says she grew up without much supervision, which led to her joining a gang while living in Atlanta.
"I want to help keep kids off the street," she says.
Christian also likes the variety her job brings. One day she goes out on boat patrol, while the next day she's putting up signs, heading off to court or helping with some emergency at the park, she says.
Indeed, Christian, who holds first-responder certification, says her finest memory came when she helped resuscitate a man who had nearly drowned at one of the park's beaches. "I assisted and was able to bring the person back," she says.
Being the only female law-enforcement officer at the park isn't much of an issue, Christian says, but the fact that she's a local is a big plus.
"I know everyone, so they just listen," she says. As for carrying a gun, she says she secures her weapon when she's off duty so her family is always safe.
Working at the park allows her to meet new people from many different places, and she likes helping the people who visit the park, Christian says.
"It makes my day interesting," she says.
Her days aren't just interesting — they're packed. Son Lee Jr. is now five and in kindergarten at the Gifft Hill School, while daughter Le'Kayla is two and attends the Methodist preschool. Christian's studies take a lot of time, and she has advanced to a purple belt in tae kwon do. All that doesn't leave her with much time for herself.
"On my days off, I'm cleaning, paying the bills," she says. "It never goes away."
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