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I became an officer in 1985.
I grew up in a household of domestic disturbances and police officers continually saved us. They were heroes in my eyes, so I became one. I was also determined to find a job where men and women got paid equally.
For the first few years, I primarily patrolled the streets. Regular duties included answering calls from a variety of sources. Robberies, assaults or accidents, I was ready and willing to help.
It wasn't until 1989 that I was asked to go undercover.
I was young, 28 years old and Hispanic with long black hair. I grew up fluent in Spanish on the “bad side of town.” This worked in my favor when my Captain pulled me aside and asked if I’d be interested in working undercover. I jumped at the chance to do something new and exciting. At the time, I was working patrol on the “good side of town,” but I stuck out in the predominantly white neighborhood.
I felt proud, even special, to have been pulled from the rest of my shift to work an undercover case. The officers briefed me on what to do and how to act. They were prepping to bring down a high-end drug-dealer who supplied to county workers and all-star attorneys.
The officers told me that they would set up a meeting. I was to act as a party girl in need of beach-worthy drugs. I curled my long, dark hair and did my makeup with a red lip and a glamorous smokey eye. I threw in some chewing gum for good measure as I drove up in an RX-7, which was a fancy sports car for that year.
We met off the highway, west of the coast, so we could get the drugs “on the way.” I greeted the dealer with an undercover narcotics officer by my side.
“I met this guy last night,” I said in a somewhat flirty manner. “We’re going to party and we need some drugs. Marijuana...cocaine...the usual.”
The dealer showed me his selection and; as soon as money was exchanged, my friend jumped into officer mode.
“I’m a cop and you’re both under arrest!” he said.
Suddenly, my fellow officers appeared.
“Fucking pigs!” I yelled as they handcuffed my hands and shoved me in a squad car. I found acting harder than I imagined. While my Spanish is perfect, I was hard pressed to cuss in that language. It was also difficult to badmouth my friends and co-workers. I tried to think of the worst names officers have been called. At one point, with my hands behind my back, my co-workers quietly encouraged more cussing.
I went in one car and the dealer in another. He told the officers, “I never hang out with people like her, I swear!” I found this to be the highest compliment. They told him that they found more drugs on me and that I was going to jail! Of course, as soon as I got in the car, the cuffs came off and I was free to relax.
It was a total adrenaline rush.
Later, they updated me on the dealer’s status. He pled guilty to all charges and continually proclaimed that he didn’t hang out with “bad people like me.” Guess I should’ve been an actress huh?
Overall, undercover was something different, which I loved. It was easier to catch criminals in the act. After a few busts, I went back to my regular patrol duties. Next September 28th will be 30 years since I hit the streets of my city to protect and serve. It will also mark my decision to retire from a long, rewarding career
The story remains anonymous as the criminals are currently serving sentences for related drug charges.
To this day, they still think I’m a bad seed who got them busted.