- We at Go! Latinos Magazine support our mothers in their month, and in this edition we recognize the skills and professionalism of Jennifer Valdez, proud mother of Jonathan, Nicolas, Isabela and Gabriela.
Two words come to mind when speaking with Jennifer Valdes: support and strength. She is the support and the strength for so many: her children, her fellow officers and the community she serves. And she continues to want to be that support.
After 17 years of service, she currently is the spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Police Department. Throughout all these years, she has combined the role of police officer and mother, working in what many describe as a man’s world.
Nationwide, women account for about 13 percent of local law-enforcement officers, up from about 8 percent in 1987, according to the Bureau of Justice figures. Media reports show that in Florida there are currently just 16 women who head police departments, compared to more than 300 men in the same position throughout the state.
Despite the fact of being a male-dominated profession, Jennifer is one of those women police officers that have made enormous strides and have risen in their departments, being an example of professionalism and integrity.
“When I started in the academy, my oldest son was only three months old,” she says. “I used to work the night shift, took care of the child during the day and slept a few hours before returning to work. Quite difficult but not impossible.”
After the academy, she started as a uniformed officer working in the General Investigations Unit for several years. While being there she had her second son who is now 15 years old. Later, she got promoted to detective in the Domestic Violence Unit, where she was for nine years before accepting her current position.
“I became a police officer because I was interested in law enforcement and the judicial system, but, additionally, I wanted to help the community,” she explains. “Being a police officer has been a blessing. I love the profession and love helping people. Besides the Miami-Dade department is a great place to work,” she added.
It was hard for her to raise two boys and her now six-year-old twin girls while working her way up in the department. Although she was always very busy with her role as a detective, she was fortunate enough to have her grandmother at her side to take care of her children for several years.
Therefore, she advises all divorced or single mothers like herself to believe in themselves and fight for their dreams. “Even though it is very important to have someone who can give us support, it is possible to meet our goals if we strive hard to achieve them.”
Being a woman, a mother and a police officer is not an easy task. Thus, we congratulate all mothers like Jennifer who dedicate their lives to serving the community, often risking their lives in the line of duty. Happy Mother’s Day!