HACKENSACK, N.J. — Neither getting in shape nor becoming a police officer came easy for Hackensack's special officer Emily Dubon.
Dropping 40 pounds took as much work as proving to the other recruits in her state law enforcement class that she could indeed hold her own.
Dubon, 21 of Englewood, ultimately lost the weight -- and finished at the top of her class for females in 2016, despite being the smallest.
As she continues to work toward her goal of becoming a K9 officer in the sheriff's department, she motivates others as a personal trainer.
"I really wanted to be a cop, and it’s happening," she said in between clients on the floor of Retro Fitness in Hackensack.
"Same thing with being healthy. If you want it, you’re going to do it. It’s not supposed to be easy."
Dubon never thought her two careers would cross paths.
Her plan was always to go do something music-related, as she has her associate's degree in violin performance and vocals.
But being a police officer was something she dreamt of too, for as long as she could remember.
"As cliche as it sounds," Dubon said, "I used to watch 'Cops' on TV."
And as soon as she set out to become one, she faced another hurdle.
"I was underestimated for the first half of the entire program (police academy) simply because I was the tallest and lightest female," Dubon said.
"There were other females five inches shorter and a solid 30 pounds heavier. People assumed they would be stronger ones."
But Dubon came in first in her class in 2016 out of the females (watch video above).
Fitness hasn't always come easy to Dubon, though. It started three years ago, after attending the Olympia (a body building competition) in Las Vegas.
Back then, she was 40 pounds heavier than she is now.
She started with her diet -- first thing to go was sugars.
"The big thing was my coffee," she said. "I drink it black now and if not black, it’s just cream."
It took three years for her to nail down her eating habits, and it's what she tells her clients to prioritize.
"Diet is the hardest part, which is what people stress anyway," the officer said. "But once you get that down, after trial and error, you're golden."
It took Dubon three years. But now, she says eating comes intuitively and she's kept the weight off.
The gym is the fun part.
"I feel like a badass," she said. "Who doesn't? Especially when you can lift a little heavier."
Now that Dubon has lost the body fat and maintained her weight, she's working on building her body -- quite literally -- and is training for a bikini competition in August.
It's not going to be easy. But it's something she wants, and history is only bound to repeat itself.
Think you're the fittest police officer in Bergen or Passaic counties? Know someone who is? Email email@example.com to be featured in the new Daily Voice series, "Fit Cops."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.