Lt. Col. Melissa Hyatt

Melissa Hyatt, Baltimore police area commander (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun photo / July 3, 2013)

What was the hardest lesson you've learned so far?
The importance of leadership and guidance. "In a job as tricky as this, people need that. I've always tried to make myself available for people."

What's a fact about yourself that will surprise people?
She's a vegetarian and likes to bake.

What do you do to relax?
Running, often accompanied by her shepherd-mix dog. "I love to exercise," she said.

Your (other) dream job would be:
"I always thought if the Police Department didn't work out I might be a firefighter. Or stunt double."

What's on your playlist?
Her musical interests are diverse, including hip hop, country and classical music. After some prodding, she sheepishly admits to training for marathons with soundtracks of Sublime, Usher and Taylor Swift.

What is your favorite book?
Reading is typically dominated by course work for her role as an instructor at the University of Maryland, University College. When she gets time to read, it'll be "some kind of light, light reading. Something totally mindless."

What's your favorite vacation destination?
"Anywhere tropical with sand and sun." For her next trip though, she's eyeing the Outer Banks in North Carolina.