Change Maker: Longest tenured woman at BPD loves her job
Brownsville Police Department Officer Imelda Valadez never imagined herself wearing a uniform and patrolling the streets to keep the city safe.
But after 22 years, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I used to be a case worker for the state of Texas, a social worker. And from there, there was an opening here 22 years ago, I took the test,” Valadez said. “I went with other coworkers from the social services and I got selected and from there on, it’s been a good ride. I love my job.”
However, when she first joined the department, Valadez—the most tenured woman in the police department—said females in policing were underdogs.
Us being females, you know, you’re kind of like the underdog,” Valadez said. “Of course, you have to take things a little bit different than a male would so that boils down to verbal judo and how you talk to people.”
That challenge inspired Valadez to pave a path for other women in the department.
"When I came in a lot of the females were not making it or quitting and I think that if you want there to be change, you have to be part of that change,” Valadez said. “So that’s when I said, ‘How do I do it, to train the females?’”
So she applied to be a field trainer officer.
“I started training the females and I’m very proud to say that some of our very good female officers are still here,” Valadez said. “That’s a good feeling for me. I’m not training anymore because I’m here at the community service center for the last eight years. But when I did do it, it’s just very satisfying to see that.”
While Valadez’s passion is patrol work, being stationed at the Southmost Community Center is a perfect fit for her because she is the type of person who likes to give back to the community.
“Like my father says, you are in the right job to be a public servant because you are very giving. And I am. I like to give,” Valadez said. “I know that God blesses me back and gives it to me with many more blessings and I just love my job.”
And when you love your job, Valadez says, you’ll never work a day in your life.
“And I am a very firm believer in that,” she said.