Gloria Lopez signed up to become a police officer for the excitement. A friend told her about the fast action for a street cop in D.C., and she wanted to be a part of it.

Ten years later, Lopez believes the real action is in selling cars, and she's one of the top Datsun saleswomen in the area, says her boss, Frank Edwards.

Of her police work, Lopez says, "I didn't know it would be such fun. I loved it in Mount Pleasant. I grew up fast on the police department."

But after three years on the force--and marriage to police academy classmate Mike Wilson, followed by a divorce--"I got a hollow and lonely feeling inside and I went back home to Texas," Lopez says.

She worked as a police officer in El Paso, she says, but didn't like it, so she returned to Washington and applied for reinstatement in the police department here. Instead, she went to work for Rosenthal Datsun. After seven years with the firm, Lopez has won so many awards as a top saleswoman that the company has given her a gold ring, set with a diamond.

She credits her success to a piece of advice she got from a friend while she was deciding whether to return to the D.C. police force:

"If you can talk someone in the ghetto out of kicking your butt, you sure can sell cars."