Female RPD members find success as they serve the community in challenging and rewarding roles
The Roswell Police Department is home to a roster full of dedicated officers, detectives and supervisors at various levels, as well as civilian employees serving in support roles. Included in that roster of law-enforcement personnel are numerous female members of RPD who have achieved success through their accomplishments and advancements within the department and in their careers.
Here is a sampling of some of the top female members of RPD talking about what initiated their desire to get into law enforcement, and what they enjoy most about their jobs and their department, as well as what makes what they do challenging and rewarding.
Sergeant Grace Fresquez
Hometown: I was born and raised in Roswell, N.M.
Years with RPD: This October 12th will be 18 years with RPD.
Positions held with RPD: Since I have been here, I have been a Police Service Aide, Police Officer, Property Technician, Technical Services Unit-Detective (Crime Scene), Criminal Investigations Division-Detective, and currently I am the midnight-shift Patrol Sergeant.
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? My most noteworthy accomplishments, besides becoming a mommy, is when I joined the Criminal Investigations Division, I was voted onto the homicide team by a group of my peers a few months into being in the division. I am the second female to ever become a sergeant in our department and the first Hispanic female to accomplish that in our department's history.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I do enjoy teaching/mentoring our young officers, ranging from what I have learned during my experiences to simple tactics that I have had great luck with during investigations. Also, I am a big advocate for officer mental health and just being there if they ever need it.
What do you enjoy about RPD? The best thing about my agency is the support, and I am speaking from experience. No matter what, your family comes first. It can be ranging from my daughter's afterschool sports activities or both our involvement with the Roswell Folklorico. Anytime that is needed, my agency has always been there to help cover or show their support. Again, it is just like family.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The one thing that has been challenging since I have started my career are crimes and incidents where babies or kids are involved. As hard as it was, I did make it my priority to investigate children's crimes while in the Criminal Investigations Division. Getting help or justice for victims and their families was one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever felt. Another challenge I had while growing up in my department was that there were few female role models and if there was advice I would have liked to ask from a female, it was rare to get that female encouragement.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? The two key factors for me were watching my dad when I grew up. He was working at the New Mexico Adult Probation/Parole office here in town and he retired in ’99. Second is when I got out of high school, he did not want to sign the paperwork for me to go into the military after high school, so I rebelled against him by joining the PD… you can say I am still rebelling (ha ha!).
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? Advice I would give to a new officer, even though I am guilty of this, never take your work home. Leave your work at work. Also, if anyone tries for a specialized division and doesn't make it, please don't be discouraged. Many of our awesome vets tried more than once or twice to get where they were.
Detective Natalie Mendoza
Hometown: Roswell, N.M.
How long lived in Roswell: I’ve lived in Roswell my whole life.
Years with RPD: Six years
Positions held with RPD: Other than being in Patrol Division, I have been assigned as a detective for a year and six months.
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? I would say one of my biggest accomplishments in my career would be promoting to detective. I’ve gotten to be a part of homicide investigations and work with senior detectives. I've had the opportunity to conduct my own homicide investigation and though it continues to have its challenges, I am proud to have this opportunity to grow and learn.
What do you enjoy most about your job? Although it is tough staying on top of my caseload, I enjoy staying busy on a daily basis.
What do you enjoy about RPD? I enjoy that RPD is a very busy police department (as we have a high crime rate). I love that the police department allows officers to have the opportunity to work their own cases, even if they are investigating a felony. When I was a police officer (in Patrol Division), I found that one of the best things as to gaining experience.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The most challenging part of my job is staying on top of my caseload. As I have been working white-collar and property crimes, I have also been assigned to work crimes against people. I find it challenging because some cases take priority over others.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? The key factors of my initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement were not only to make a difference in the community that I grew up in, but to show people that police officers were not bad. I grew up in a bad part of town, which could have easily taken me on a bad path. People and children in the area I lived in did not like police officers or abide by the law. I believe that growing up in that environment and my mother trying to put my siblings and I on the right path is what caused me to want to be a police officer.
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? The advice I would give a new police recruit is to work your hardest that you can at all times. Learn the most that you can. If you have the opportunity to work your own case, take it. Be the best officer that you can be. Know how to speak to people, as I believe that the lack of this skill is something that influences people to not get along with law enforcement.
Detective Ashley Wood
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
How long lived in Roswell: 6 years
Years with RPD: 6 years
Positions held with RPD: Patrol Officer, Criminal Investigations Division Detective
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? After being on patrol for 3 years, I became a field training officer and had the opportunity to train new officers. After my time on patrol, I got promoted to the Criminal Investigations Division.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy serving my community to the best of my ability. I also enjoy the challenge of every day and not knowing what the day will bring.
What do you enjoy about RPD? There is a lot of opportunity for growth within the department. I enjoy that the department is very family orientated, and that they understand that family comes first.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The most challenging part of my job is maintaining the public trust. I am a big believer is community policing and I believe it’s important to stay in contact with the members of the community because they are the first source of information. Not everyone is going to like the police, but if we can keep the many that do, Roswell will be a safer community.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? It all started with a ride-along with one of my real good friends. It was the opportunity to become a servant, which I strive to be. I like the fact that every day presents itself with something new, and everyone enjoys a good adrenaline rush.
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? To always be safe and to keep your head on a swivel. RPD is a great department to work for with a great chance to work in different divisions within a short period of time. RPD offers several opportunities to take classes and attend trainings to better yourself as a person, a leader and a police officer.
Officer Cassandra Juarez
Hometown: Carlsbad, N.M.
How long lived in Roswell: A little less than 2 years. I moved here a month or so after being hired.
Years with RPD: I’ll have reached 2 years in mid-September.
Positions held with RPD: Police Officer (Patrol Division)
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? It’s been such a short time. I’d say the biggest achievement would be getting through the academy. The academy was more time-consuming than difficult, but there’s always several people who go into it and for some reason or another either change their mind about wanting this career or get kicked out and don’t make it. I’m just glad I made it out and have had the opportunity to work in Roswell. It is an honor to have been recognized recently by the Roswell Elks Lodge as "Officer of the Year" after being nominated by my department.
What do you enjoy most about your job? There are several aspects about this job which make it different and enjoyable for me. But being someone who gets bored quickly, I love that no two days are the same, that’s my favorite. I also like that for the most part, I get to work independently.
What do you enjoy about RPD? The work environment. It’s nice to work with people who are willing to help and share whatever knowledge they may have. From supervisors to other officers, it just makes it easy to turn to someone when help is needed. Even if the person you’re asking doesn’t know the answer, they’ll help you find it.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Decision-making. 99% of what police officers do is solve problems. The decisions we have to make are never made with all the facts being available, and oftentimes have to be made in a moment’s notice. We make decisions that have the ability to greatly influence, both positively and negatively, the rest of a person’s life. And on top of that, police officers are just regular people.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? Helping people, of course. I think everyone that is in law enforcement wants to help people. But also the fact that we live in a time where the public is very hard and critical on law enforcement and their decision-making. I hope to positively impact the way people perceive law enforcement.
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? Take into consideration advice coming from senior officers. Pay attention to how they handle themselves and observe the process. And don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how small or insignificant you may think they are.
Officer Dazanique Kidd
Hometown: Blythe, California
How long lived in Roswell: 2 years
Years with RPD: 1 year
Position held with RPD: Police Officer (Patrol Division)
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? Achieving my lifelong goal of becoming a police officer is one of my greatest accomplishments. Since becoming a police officer with the Roswell Police Department, my advancement though the initial field-training process was a gratifying experience. I am very proud of myself for the commitment and work ethic I displayed during the Law Enforcement Academy located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During this academy, I earned the Highest Academic Achievement Award. Since returning to Roswell as a certified police officer I have gained a great amount of experience and confidence in a short amount of time. I am looking forward to continuing to learn in this ever-changing career in the field of law enforcement. Moreover, I am excited to start assisting newer officers where I can to be the best they can be as I hope to become a field-training officer in the near future.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I became a police officer because I wanted to make a difference in the community. I would like to assist in improving the relationship between law enforcement and the public. Although there have been many trials and tribulations, I am thoroughly enjoying serving and protecting the community that I live in. I come to work every day with inspiration to change the way some in our community view law enforcement, and be a positive role model for the youth.
What do you enjoy about RPD? I enjoy knowing that if I have any type of question, or need help with anything, there is always someone around to lend a hand. I ask a ton of questions on a regular basis because every day I encounter new situations that I haven’t dealt with. Every day brings a new opportunity for growth and I enjoy knowing that working in RPD my career path is limitless, and there is always training provided to help aid me in reaching my career goals.
What is the most challenging part of your job? One of the most challenging parts of my job is not being able to solve everybody’s problem like I would like to. Every day I strive my best to ensure our community feels comfortable to call the police when they are in need. Another challenging part of being a police officer is responding to calls that are involving children. I can relate to a lot of the children I encounter in the community because I was once in similar situations during my childhood. I was fortunate enough to find a positive role model in my life who was a police officer. I hope that children in our community can view me as a positive role model and have someone to look up to just as I did.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? A key factor that influenced my initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement was to be the change that I wanted to see. My role model, Officer Estrada, with the Blythe Police Department (California), helped me pave the path that has led me to law enforcement. I was told that where I come from and who my family are did not have to define me as a person. I have always carried his words of wisdom with me throughout the journey to become a police officer. I strongly believe that without that positive influence in myself that I had received from him I would most likely not be the person or in the position I am today. I strive on a daily basis to be that person to our community that he was for me.
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? The advice I would officer to new police recruits is to trust the process of your training. The amount of information that will be consumed during your training can be overwhelming at times. Absorb as much as possible, pay attention to what your senior officers teach you. Everything you will learn will be invaluable to you once you get released on your own. Learn from your mistakes, they are inevitable; don’t get upset or disappointed, but rather grow from the experience.
School Resource Officer Laura Macias
Hometown: I was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
How long lived in Roswell: I came to the USA in 1986 and have lived in Roswell, N.M., ever since. Therefore, I have lived in Roswell 33 years. I became a naturalized American citizen in the beginning of 2001 so that I could become a police officer.
Years with RPD: I got hired by the Roswell Police Department in June 2001and have been here for 18 years.
Positions held with RPD: I started with the Patrol Division and then moved to Property Custodian/Technical Services Unit. Then I went to the Criminal Investigations Division, where I spent 10 years as a detective. I am currently a School Resource Officer.
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? I always try to do my best and do my job to the best of my knowledge.
What do you enjoy most about your job? The great feeling of satisfaction after a case or situation is resolved to the best of my knowledge knowing that justice has been served.
What do you enjoy about RPD? My co-workers in general.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Dealing with situations involving violent and nonviolent mentally-disturbed or unstable people.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? People taking advantage of defenseless people. A desire to help victims find peace and justice.
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? RPD is a great place to work. Everyone is willing to help your knowledge grow and help you become a better officer. Always be honest, never lose your integrity and don't forget where you come from. Wear that badge with pride.
Records Supervisor Georgia Davey
Hometown: I was born in Grand Canyon, Ariz. My parents moved around between New Mexico and Colorado for a couple of years before settling in Raton, N.M., when I was 3, where I grew up and stayed until I turned 22.
How long lived in Roswell: I moved to Roswell in October of 1995, so it’s been 24 years.
Years with RPD: It will be six years in October 2019.
Positions held with RPD: In 2012, I was brought into Records as a temporary clerical. I officially started with RPD as a Front Desk Clerical in 2013, and in 2015 I became the Records Supervisor. In 2016, I also became the Records Custodian for the RPD, appointed by the city manager.
What do you consider among your noteworthy achievements, accomplishments and advancements with RPD? I would say it was gaining the promotion to Records Supervisor. At the time I applied for the position, I had only two years with RPD, and one of those years was as a temporary employee. Despite this, I was selected as the best candidate and was awarded the position. Since then I have worked diligently to improve and streamline Records and Front Desk to ensure that we are offering the best service to our officers, as well as the public. With the help of our IT personnel, I’ve gotten new computers that the department badly needed, and I’m working on updating our older cases to PDF formats for more secure storage and retrieval.
What do you enjoy most about your job? The work and knowing that what I and my staff are doing is important and necessary to the success of our Police Department. I enjoy meeting new challenges and helping to improve the community by helping the officers do their jobs well.
What do you enjoy about RPD? The great people. The work environment is enjoyable and pleasant and overall everyone gets along so well. There is a great sense of comradery and family here and great teamwork. I look forward to coming to work every day and we all have fun.
What is the most challenging part of your job? I think working with the public can be the most challenging aspect of anyone’s job. That and managing people. As Records Custodian and Records Supervisor, part of my job means acting as a bridge between law enforcement and the public, being the go-between at times – it can be challenging, but also very rewarding. And getting many different personalities to work together well and form a team can be difficult, but well worth the effort.
What were the key factors in your initial decision to pursue a career in law enforcement? My mother worked as a dispatcher at a sheriff’s office in Oregon at one time, and she thoroughly enjoyed it, and told great stories. She really enjoyed working with the deputies. So when an opportunity presented itself to work as a temporary employee here, I was intrigued at the thought of seeing how law enforcement works, and I remembered my mother’s great experiences. I was glad I did, as I found the work interesting and challenging and very rewarding, and I was happy to accept a permanent position when one became available. While I knew I didn’t have the right talent for working as an officer, I feel my skills are well suited in Support Services, where I can give the officers the tools needed to do their jobs.
What advice would you offer to new police recruits at RPD? Since I’m coming from the other side of police reporting, where my department provides reports and records for the public, I would encourage new officers to hone their writing and grammatical skills. Writing concise, accurate and well-thought-out reports reflects well on them, as officers, and on the Police Department as a whole, and it will make them more credible in court and with the public. And it makes our jobs easier in Records!
(PHOTO: From left, Detective Natalie Mendoza, Detective Ashley Wood, School Resource Officer Laura Macias, Officer Dazanique Kidd, Records Supervisor Georgia Davey, Sergeant Grace Fresquez, Officer Cassandra Juarez.)