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By Teresa Bigham/The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYDADA – New graduate from South Plains Association of Governments (SPAG), Officer Paula Vasquez of Lockney, accepted a position with the Floydada Police Department. She graduated in September and began her new chapter with the Police Department Oct. 5.
Vasquez in the mother of four, 12-year-old, Adrielle Martinez, a junior high cheerleader and runs cross country at Lockney Jr. High, Brayden Martinez, 10, Victor Joe Martinez, 4, and the baby is two-year-old Alexandra Gutierrez.
Vasquez is engaged to Officer Alex Gutierrez. “My family is everything to me. Alex and I are committed to raising happy, healthy children who are a positive influence on our community,” Vasquez said. “The children today are the leaders of tomorrow. I believe that the way children are raised is a reflection on the parents. So, we, as parents try to keep our children involved in school activities and other stuff.”
She is the daughter of Joe and Rita Alvarez of Whiteface. Vasquez graduated from Lockney high School in 2009.
Vasquez has experience working at the Hale County Jail and has worked for two years at TDCJ Formby unit. “I really love working in law enforcement. Really, I cannot see myself doing anything else,” she said.
Vasquez enrolled at SPAG in Lubbock in November 2019. “I would have to say that I really learned a lot, and I enjoyed all my classes, but active shooter was by far my favorite. I love that it challenged me. It made me really think before I just acted.
That class was really eye opening,” she said.
According to the All Criminal Justice School – Women in Law Enforcement website, www.allcriminaljusticeschool.com, women have been an active part of law enforcement as early as 1910. Women police officers worked mostly with children and women, they guarded female prisoners and were relegated to the Women’s Bureau with limited responsibilities, the website stated.
In the 1960s, some women police officers were allowed to work undercover to bust drug dealers and prostitution rings, but they still were not able to graduate out of the Women’s Bureau or become full patrol officers, according to the website.
It was not until 1972 that Congress passed an amendment to the Civil Rights of 1964 prohibiting state and local agencies from job discrimination based on gender.
Female officers have come a long way since then, and the History of Women in Law Enforcement website also states that women officers tend to be more effective than their male counterparts in avoiding violence and defusing potentially violent situations.
The History of Women in Law Enforcement website reports that women make up about 15 percent of all state, municipal and county police officers, and that number is increasing every year.
Women in law enforcement bring a lot to the job, including offering different ways of dealing with conflict. Not all women have brute strength of men, but their bravery, creativity and verbal skills make them ideal for the job, the website stated.
Vasquez said she is in it for the long haul and plans to become a DPS officer. “It is important to me to get several years of different kinds of experience under my belt before I apply but one day, I will be that DPS Officer,” Vasquez stated. “I love the job I have now. All the officers are like family to me, and the Chief could not be a better boss. I was taught to always try to better yourself and that is just what I plan to do.”
Vasquez said she “loves the job. I love protecting people and making our community the best place it can be. I love the children and I will do anything I can to keep all these kids safe and out of harm’s way.”
She is currently still in FTO which means she is still in field training but is looking forward to the day she is out on her own.
Currently Floyd County has a total of three female officers working with the City Police and the Sheriff’s office.