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From The Course to The Force: Law Enforcement Appreciation Month

By May 28, 2024No Comments

May is dedicated to honoring members of our community who serve and protect our state as law enforcement officers. On behalf of the JGAA, we would like to express our gratitude to three notable JGAA Alumni: GraceMarie Schian, Kaylee Benton, and Ashley Ohland for their unwavering commitment to keeping us safe. Their dedication is indispensable in maintaining peace and upholding justice.

GraceMarie Schian, Field Training Officer

We had the opportunity to catch up with GraceMarie Schian, JGAA alum and current Field Training Officer with the South Mountain Precinct. After being introduced to the game at the early age of five, GraceMarie was inspired to get serious about the game from her brother and father. This led GraceMarie to get involved with Girls Golf of Phoenix and then a longtime member with the JGAA where she developed a passion for playing competitive golf.

When asked to reflect on her competitive golf journey, GraceMarie mentioned that playing competitive golf taught her that things are not going to always go your way, but it’s the way you present yourself and continue that really defines your character.

“You could play poorly one day, and the very next day shoot under par. Attitude is what people remember,” said GraceMarie.

Golf has been a large part of GraceMarie’s life since competing in the JGAA. GraceMarie went on to play collegiate golf on a scholarship from the University of Tampa and Regis University while earning two degrees in criminology. As a senior at the University of Tampa, GraceMarie had two top-15 finishes and was named captain of her golf team. GraceMarie pays tribute to her college golf experience for helping her create long lasting friendships and showing her how to be a leader while competing at such a high level which has helped prepare her for a career in law enforcement.

GraceMarie has been with the Phoenix Police Department for a little over five years and aspires to become a detective. Even though she doesn’t play as much golf as she would like, GraceMarie still finds a healthy balance to enjoy the game that taught her so much. Some core values that carried over into the workforce include sportsmanship and integrity.

“Sportsmanship was ingrained into me by my dad and my mom when I was very young. It carried into golf and the JGAA, in that we always shook each other’s hands, encouraged others, and played with integrity.” said Schian.

To any junior golfers interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, “Go play college golf, enjoy yourself, and make smart decisions! I’d recommend going on a ride along with your local police department and see if it’s something you’re interested in! You can apply at 21!” Said Schian.

Kaylee Benton, Detective

Another notable JGAA Alumni, Kaylee Mailhiot (Benton), by only picking up the game at age 10, Kaylee had a successful golf career as a junior and in college. Kaylee originally attended University of Nevada Las Vegas then later transferred to the University of Arkansas. Kaylee was a key player on the Razorback team, even helping her team secure a win for an SEC Conference title in 2019. After graduating college, Kaylee moved back to Arizona to pursue her dream of protecting and serving her Arizona community. As a current Detective in the Violent Crimes Bureau with the Phoenix Police Department, Kaylee is no stranger to dealing with adversity. In stressful situations, Kaylee remembers to focus on her breath work in that moment.

“I remain present and focus on the task at hand just like when I played in tournaments.” Said Mailhiot

Playing competitive golf taught Kaylee mental fortitude which enabled her to perform well under pressure. She believes that this experience prepared her well for law enforcement.

“I found that I can handle the mental and physical challenges of police work well because of the strength I gained while playing competitive golf. I attribute a lot of my success in my career to playing in the JGAA because it helped me grow as a competitor.” Said Mailhiot.

While playing on the JGAA and in college, Kaylee learned the importance of professionalism and determination. She also learned that skill does not develop overnight but requires persistent work and practice. Although Kaylee doesn’t play as much golf as she used to, she is starting to pick the game back up, her love and appreciation for the game has grown even stronger.

Ashley Ohland, Patrol Officer

We would also like to acknowledge our appreciation for Ashley Ohland, JGAA Alumni from Gilbert, AZ. Ashley began playing golf in 2010 and later became a top contender in the Girls Championship division for several years and even went on to compete at Eastern Washington University with her twin sister, Megan.

After reflecting on her junior golf career and memories of her JGAA career, Ashley had much appreciation for the people she had met through golf and her summer golf tournament schedule.

“Competitive golf has taught me how to have a good work ethic. Golf requires you to have discipline and motivation…I have been able to take my work ethic into my career.”


During her time at Eastern Washington University, Ashley earned two top-20 finishes throughout her colligate career with a career best of T-17th at Rose City Collegiate (Oct. 2018.) Upon graduating in 2020, Ashley returned home to embark on her journey of becoming a police officer. Ashley mentioned that she aspired to be a police officer since she was little partially due to her aunt also being a police officer.

“I ultimately wanted to become a police officer to help people and make a difference in the community.” Said Ohland. “In law enforcement, every call for service and contact with the community is an unknown. Golf taught me how to be more comfortable with the unknown/uncontrollable.”

We asked Ashley if she has any recommendations for anyone interested in learning more about how to become a police officer a difference in the community. For woman, Ashley recommended high schoolers to look into programs like the Aspire Academy, which is a four-day overnight academy for girls in high school led by female police officers and firefighters. In addition, the City of Phoenix also offers a Police Cadet Program for young adults aged 14 and older.

On behalf of the JGAA and its community, we wanted to thank GraceMarie, Kaylee, and Ashley for their unwavering devotion to Arizonans and our community. As we end this year’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Month, let’s take the opportunity to recognize their sacrifices, commend their courage, and show our support to the officers that keep us safe. Whether through simple gestures of thanks, participating in community events, or advocating for their well-being, let’s come together to honor and celebrate the invaluable contributions of our law enforcement officers throughout May and beyond.