Calling Found: New PIO right at home with Brownsville Police
When Brownsville Police Department Detective Melissa Gonzalez attended the University of Texas at Brownsville, she faced a major life-changing moment when her mother died in her second year of college.
“So, after she passed away, it was a very difficult time for me,” Gonzalez, who recently was assigned as the police department’s public information officer, said.
But something her mother told her before her passing motivated her.
“ My mother, growing up, said, ‘I want you to finish school.’ She said, ‘They can take everything away from you, but your education is something that nobody will ever be able to take away from you,’” Gonzalez said.
So Gonzalez made good on her promise to her mother and earned a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in police administration.
After graduating, she knew exactly what she wanted to do and where she wanted to do it.
“I did my internship with the PD,” Gonzalez said. “Once I got to see how everything works here I fell in love with the Brownsville Police Department. I decided this is what I was going to do.”
Gonzalez, a 2000 graduate of Gladys Porter High School, had already applied to the BPD before graduating.
“Then I got hired by them and that’s when I went into the academy. It was a process,” Gonzalez said, smiling.
Like all officers in the department, she started in patrol.
“I believe patrol is your foundation in the police force because that’s where you’re going to get your experience, your field experience, in dealing with the community and getting to know the people,” Gonzalez said.
After roughly eight years on patrol, Gonzalez’s supervisors assigned her to the burglary taskforce.
“That was fun. I mean, you know, that was where I learned everything on investigations,” Gonzalez said. “Of course, that’s what we do on patrol, but then you go into the other side of investigations.”
While working on the taskforce, her supervisors asked her if she wanted to help out with public information and she said she was glad to help out.
“Then, maybe after two or three years, they moved me to the juvenile and missing persons unit,” Gonzalez said. “And there I dealt with cases like runaways and missing persons and it’s just something different. And then recently I got assigned to public information officer.”
While she’s not working a shift at the PD, Gonzalez said she cherishes family time.
“I like to spend as much time with my family as I can,” Gonzalez said. “I have a small family so I spend as much time with them as I can get. And if I’m not with them, you’ll see me at the gym.”
When looking back on her journey to the PD, Gonzalez said she’s reminded of how she often runs into her elementary school teachers and reflected on what their contribution to her life means.
“And they’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’re a police officer, you’re a detective’ and I tell them, I wouldn’t be here without you,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”