Behind The Lines: Zaida Bristol

Zaida Bristol

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MINT HILL, NC – Zaida Bristol, otherwise known to the officers as “Mama Z,” oversees nearly 4000 pieces of evidence daily.  As the Mint Hill Police Department’s sole Evidence Technician, she ensures evidence is accurately logged and stored and that the chain of custody is secure for prosecutorial purposes.  In addition to these duties, analysis must be conducted for DNA, fingerprints, trace, and ballistic evidence.   

Zaida is directly involved with all criminal cases as it’s her duty to protect any property seized, a tremendous responsibility.  Most days Zaida can be found in the property control room, a well-secured area under 24-hour surveillance with very restricted access, chipping away at court dispositions and chasing down leads of rightful owners of found property.   

Prior to the Mint Hill Police Department, Zaida was a 911 telecommunicator for six years at Pineville Police Department, which is contracted to provide emergency communications for Mint Hill.  Zaida’s desire to be more involved ultimately landed her the opportunity to join Mint Hill’s Police Department as its first Evidence Technician in late 2012.  Since then, much has changed with law pertaining to the collection of DNA samples, storage, and the disposition of firearms, but Zaida has risen to the challenge.  “I enjoy the responsibility to see evidence is secure for the officers,” she says.  

Zaida earned the nickname “Mama Z” from officers who worked with her as a dispatcher: she’s a no nonsense, quick-witted team player.  Zaida says she loves that the officers refer to her as “Mama Z” because to her, they’re all her “sons” that she still looks out for.  

Prior to joining the Mint Hill Police Department, Zaida moved from Puerto Rico to Rochester, New York, to be close to family.  After a few years of cold and snow, she relocated to Florida but grew tired of hurricanes.  Zaida ultimately settled down in North Carolina, which she describes as “my happy medium.” Zaida considers her biggest accomplishment ensuring her three daughters have the opportunities she didn’t, including sending two of her daughters to obtain Master’s Degrees.   

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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 eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-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: