After four decades on the job, she still finds it hard to retire

By Kathleen Luppi

Irma Ashe was 23 when she took her mother’s advice.

“She told me to get a government job,” Ashe said.

More than four decades later, Ashe is still working the same job.

After 39 years at the Fullerton PD, she retired Monday.

Ashe, who always had an interest in law enforcement, originally applied to be a policewoman.

“But back in 1975, the height and weight standards were 5-feet-2 and 120 pounds,” she said. “And you had to be married.

“I was 5 feet tall, so I was disqualified.”

In 1981, Ashe applied to be a control parking officer and stayed in the position until 2004 when she was promoted to office manager. During the slow summer months, she asked to be taught how to take traffic accident reports. She also learned how to draft theft and burglary reports.

“I wanted to keep busy because I hated driving around aimlessly,” she said of her days in parking control.

Ashe remembers an incident on the job when she was a newer parking control officer.

“At that time, we were riding three-wheel scooters and Fullerton High School had an agriculture program for students,” she said. “A couple of steers got loose and had to be rounded up. We all looked at each other and said, ‘How are we going to do this?’

“We were told to raise our arms and steer them into the corral,” she said. “That was funny.”

Ashe advises co-workers to remember to laugh now and then at work.

“Have a sense of humor because people can get very depressed,” she said.

After retiring, Ashe plans to spend time with her granddaughter, visit the Grand Canyon and Washington, D.C.


She’ll miss the people she worked alongside most.

“You can get so attached,” said Ashe, who is married with two grown kids.

Ashe reflected on how proud she is to have worked at the police department.

“I was a part of something that is vital to a community and giving back,” she said.

She paused for a moment, and then started to laugh.

“I still want to work here.”