Behind The Lines: Karen McGrath

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MINT HILL, NC – Altoona Pennsylvania native Karen McGrath serves MHPD as a Detective. Originally intent on pursuing a career in law, McGrath ran track at Virginia Tech University, but found herself returning home after only a year and half of college to support family.  

Upon her return to Pennsylvania, McGrath enrolled at Penn State University and graduated with Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice.  Still interested in law school, McGrath attended a career fair and found her interest piqued by a recruiter for the Sheriff’s office.  Karen served 10 years in the Sheriff’s office before following her retired parents to the Charlotte area and joining the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.  After a few years, Karen took a step away from law enforcement but found she couldn’t stay away, coming back after only 9 months.  Karen was familiar with Mint Hill, and the more she consulted with fellow employees within the police department, the more she felt it fit her personal life and chose to join, landing a position with the Criminal Investigative Division within a short time.   

When asked what she most enjoys about her nine years as an investigator, McGrath says, “I enjoy policing for the challenge of investigations, that it’s ever-changing. It’s putting pieces of the puzzle together every day for some type of resolution for a victim or their family.” 

Outside of work, Karen has taken on gardening, raising chickens and learning to take on “DIY” projects around her home, where she is also raising an 18-month-old daughter.  Karen says it’s her hope to allow her daughter to develop her own personality (she is enjoying the currently comical growth), but at the same time, she’s hoping to not shelter her daughter from the dangers she knows exists in the world due to her profession. 

Most people don’t know McGrath has 8 siblings, but she is not shy about her love of the Penn State Nittany Lions standing alone as the sole supporter since most are fanatics of universities and colleges in the area but no one holds it against her she says.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: