The previous few law enforcement criminals did not operate like Columbo.
Ana Franklin made history when she became the first-ever female sheriff in Morgan County. Ten other female sheriffs came before her in state history, but Franklin is the only one still in office.
For as long as she can remember, Franklin wanted to be in law enforcement.
"When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be Columbo," said Franklin. "I didn't want to be a police woman, cause she was kind of fou-fou. I wanted to be Columbo."
Similar to Columbo, Franklin was consistently underestimated. When she announced her candidacy for sheriff in 2009, she says people told her it wasn't "ladylike" and laughed in her face.
"Some of those things really hit home to me about some of the ideas that we still have and that we carry in the south, particularly," said Franklin, "and the fact that this is a barrier that hasn't been broken."
Franklin was born and raised in Decatur graduating from Austin High School. After she married, she moved to Athens, where she and her husband ran a wedding planning and catering service for 11 years. Franklin later divorced and returned to her hometown.
With the support of her family, she finally began to follow her dreams.
"I had a family background that gave me the opportunity again to be able to do things," said Franklin. "They didn't tell me you can't do this and you can't do that."
Franklin got her start as a reserve deputy in the Limestone County Sheriff's Office. From there, she became a K-9 handler.
Then she moved to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department, where she began working in undercover narcotics, as well as criminal investigations and search and rescue.
It was her work in narcotics, though, that found her on the other side of the law. While undercover during a prostitution sting, an outside agency accidentally arrested her.
"I mean, I was truly undercover," said Franklin. "Yeah, I never got to work the thousand-dollar a night prostitution deals. They put me down at the 20 dollar a night prostitution deals, those were the kind I worked."
Franklin's fearless attitude helped her win the election in 2010, but she says it is her faith that has helped keep her focused.
"A lot of faith, and it's a lot of time on your knees, truly," said Franklin.
While she knows she is a role model for all little girls across the county, Franklin just tries to set a good example for her two daughters and her two grandchildren.
"I hoped that my girls would see that if you try to do what's right and if you just keep trying and you don't give up that sometimes it pays off."