WALWORTH — The Fontana and Walworth police departments have two new similar faces on their staffs.
Hannah and Ruth Hooper, twin sisters, are working for the two departments.
“It’s never been a competition for us,” Hannah said. “We’ve always been there for each other. I think that’s why we did so well in the police academy.”
Both Hoopers attended the police academy in Kenosha together. One of the sisters was a few percentage points ahead of the other in the class.
“We don’t talk about who was the higher one,” Ruth said. “We were the top two in the class. It doesn’t matter who beat who.”
For two years, Ruth has been a community service officer in Fontana. She was part of the parking enforcement arm of the department. Now, Ruth is a part-time officer in the Fontana department. :::
Hannah was a part-time officer in Walworth while she was still in the academy. Now she’s a full-time officer in the department.
“It was kind of crazy how it happened,” Hannah said. “We didn’t plan to work in departments just a mile apart.”
“I can’t wait for one of us to backup the other on a call,” Ruth said. “I can’t wait to hear (a call) on the radio, and find my sister there.”
The two sisters are already creating some confusion in the two villages.
“I get people coming up to me all the time saying, do you remember me,” Hannah said. “No, I don’t remember you. They’ll respond, well you pulled me over in Fontana. No, that was my sister.”
“Of course, they don’t believe that I have a twin sister,” Ruth said. “No, that was you, they’ll say.”
Ruth and Hannah both said they aren’t rivals.
“We’ve always been there for each other,” Hannah said. “We’re helping each other out. I really think that’s why we did so well in the academy.”
Ruth said they didn’t have much time to study outside of the drive to and from classes in Kenosha.
“We’d go over notes before class and on the way home,” Ruth said. “We always talked about the classes and about what we learned. I think others didn’t have someone going through the class with them. We had that advantage to throw ideas back and forth with each other.”
While at the academy, they both held various part-time jobs, sometimes three or four each.
“People thought I was working everywhere,” Hannah said. “No, that’s my sister, I’d tell them.”
“We were lucky to be able to find jobs right away,” Ruth said. “If you don’t have a police job, you lose your certification after three years. Then you have to go back through the training.”
Even though, according to Hannah, law enforcement jobs are very competitive, the Hooper sisters tried not to compete with each other.
“We aren’t trying to beat each other,” Hannah said. “We just kind of applied for jobs at different departments. That’s how it worked out.”
“We have to stand out. I think putting my social life on hold while I was in school helped,” Ruth said. “We had to work and pay for the schooling. We just set our minds to it, and we did it.”
Now, they’re ready to start a social life again.
“The hard work has paid off,” Hannah said. “You get what you put into it. Now, I’m ready to work and relax a little bit. See what comes next.”
Next for both of them will be upper levels of education and more training.
“I’d really like to be fluent in Spanish,” Ruth said. “It would help so much on the job, and getting a bachelor’s degree will help with promotions.”
Both sisters want to move up the ranks eventually and experience as much as they can in policing.
“I really think it’d be cool to go undercover,” Hannah said. “A lot of people think we look young. I think I could do it.”
“I’m ready for whatever life throws our way,” Ruth said. “If the doors open up, we’re going. I’d like to work in drug enforcement someday or a federal agency doing police work.”
The Hooper sisters are two of 14 children, and they come from a military family.
“My dad was in the military, my grandpa was in the military,” Hannah said. “We thought about the military, but it just wasn’t a right fit for us.”
One of their brothers was a police officer.
“He died, not in the line of duty, but it hurt a lot,” Hannah said. “We kind of put our police dreams on hold for a while as our family healed.”
After leaving home, the sisters worked on a horse farm for a few years.
“We liked it, but it was time to move on,” Ruth said. “Right now, we’re where we’re supposed to be.”