Woman invites police officer who once arrested her for drugs to college graduation

PHOTO: Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college. PlayKABC
WATCH Recovering addict thanks police officer who changed her life

When Jim Foster and Tiffany Hall last crossed paths five years ago, the lieutenant with the Long Beach Police Department was arresting her on drug charges.

Now, the two have reunited -- to celebrate Hall's upcoming college graduation next month.

Hall credits Foster with helping her turn her life around.

PHOTO: Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college. KABC
Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college.

"I want to thank Lt. Jim Foster for his respect and his compassion and the empathy that he showed to me and anyone he came in contact with," Hall said at a news conference at the Long Beach Police Department headquarters in California.

Back when Hall was using drugs and Foster was arresting her, Hall said he would urge to find a better path.

PHOTO: Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college. KABC
Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college.

"He would encourage me all the time, "'Tiffany, you can do better than this. Tiffany, why don't you try to go to school? Tiffany, why don't you stop?'" she said.

Now, Hall was back at police headquarters -- but this time to surprise Foster with an invitation to her graduation.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world," Foster said, holding the invitation.

He added that success stories like Hall's are among the highlights of being a police officer.

"The biggest joy of my professional career is from time to time having contact with people who have found their way out of horrible circumstances and into life's success, things that a lot of us just take for granted for people who have a much rougher life story," Foster said.

PHOTO: Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college. KABC
Tiffany Hall thanks Long Beach Police Officer Lt. Jim Foster for encouraging her to get off drugs and go to college.

Hall -- who hopes to become a social worker and pay it forward -- said she is focused on the future.

"I tell myself every day, 'Don't look back behind because there's nothing back there," she said. "You gotta keep looking forward."

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