Dare to dream: Law student has a background in law enforcement


Law student Zahara Madahah aims to one day be a Supreme Court Justice.
Photo by ‘Stan J’

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Many of Zahara Madahah’s adult choices have been rooted in her childhood and experiences growing into womanhood. Always wanting to serve the community, she bcame an officer with the Detroit Police Department.

“I was able to see first-hand how the justice system impacts communities that are often times forgotten about, communities that deserved officers, attorneys and other community workers that wanted to work towards a common goal—change,” she says.

Madahah worked closely with citizens she was sworn to protect and serve—and also was involved in extra activities within the department that would assist in developing relationships with Detroit residents. This included joining the Brotherhood and Sisterhood program, mentoring at-risk youth.

“Gaining the trust of those young, brilliant, yet challenging youths was not an easy feat,” she says.

A sitting board member of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement executives (N.O.B.L.E.) Metro Detroit Chapter, Madahah also was a part of the new pilot program Detroit Wayne Integrated Health-DWIH subsection Crisis Intervention Team with the Detroit police department.

“Our team was instrumental in working with clinicians on police calls for citizens who were in a mental crisis—a program geared toward rehabilitation and understanding the crisis of the individual rather than a crime,” she says.

Honored with the Woman in Blue Officer of the Year and Spirit of Detroit Award in 2021, Madahah was further inspired to do more. Becoming a Homicide Investigator, still with the rank of Police Officer, she developed an even deeper passion for justice.

Now a 1L student at Detroit Mercy Law, Madahah looks forward to the legal discourse community.

“Seeing the camaraderie with the staff and how welcoming they were to us new 1L students meant more than I can even began to explain. The way my 1L class came together and still is coming together to make sure not one woman or man is left behind says something about the culture here,” she says.

“Mostly, I’m looking forward to getting past this 1L year and working in clinics where I know I will be effective in assisting our citizens with professionalism and elevated legal assistance from a school such as Detroit Mercy Law. I do believe we are one of a kind.”

With an eventual career goal is to one day be a Supreme Court justice, Madahah is interested in criminal law, and also in corporate law.

“From seeing the issues surrounding, gentrification in our city in certain zones to the abandoned businesses, homes, corruption and large violence, I’d like to use my passion and experience to continue moving forward with effective strategies that benefit the citizens in the city of Detroit,” she says.

Madahah holds an undergrad degree in English language and literature from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

With this passion for reading, she took a leap of faith and published a contemporary romance novel and poetry book.

The single mother of four, who shares parenting with her ex-husband, enjoys taking hikes with her children, and trips with them to northern Michigan.

 As a victim of domestic violence from a previous marriage, Madahah’s goal is—and always will be— to dare to dream.

“Even if the top of staircase seems far. Pushing yourself past your limits might seem unfathomable, but that is where you do your best work,” she says. “And remember the sky is not the limit no matter the phrase—there is an entire universe out there.”


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