Laura Fulmer is all of 5-foot-3, but as the sole housing code enforcement officer for Youngstown, Ohio, she stands far taller. With courage and a sense of duty that impresses others, she places herself in harm’s way to ensure that the city’s residents can live in peace and be proud of their neighborhoods.
“When she drives down the street, people start cleaning up their yards. Good people cheer her when they see her,” said Karen Humphries, accounts coordinator in the city’s finance department and vice president of AFSCME Local 2312 (Council 8). “Everybody is just in awe of her. Thank God she’s here for the city.”
About five years ago, Humphries and her neighbors asked law enforcement to get rid of a family that was living illegally in a run-down house and terrorizing the neighborhood. But the police and sheriff didn’t get rid of them, but Fulmer was able to get the job done.
Fulmer said the family had illegally tapped the water supply and was dealing drugs. “The kids were stealing, there were a lot of broken-down cars” on the property, she recalled. Authorities also received allegations of spousal and child abuse.
She arrived with a backup police officer early one morning and told a male occupant that the place was filthy as a pigsty and smelled like one, too, and informed him she was shutting off the water.