Police Blotter

We Are The 28 - Honoring Culture and Heritage - Allied Neighborhood Police Officer - Gracia Rodriguez

July 12, 2020 7:36 AM

For Allied Neighborhood Police Officer Gracia Rodriguez, her culture and heritage have driven every career decision she has made. Born in Mexico and raised by a single mother in Rockford, Illinois, Gracia never intended to become a police officer. After majoring in Forensic Science at Loyola University Chicago, she took a job as a crime scene investigator at the Greensboro Police Department in North Carolina. In this civilian role, Gracia was consistently exposed to the justice system and victims of crime. Fluent in Spanish, Gracia's language skills were regularly utilized to communicate with members of the Latino community. This was when her career aspirations expanded. 

"By being bilingual, it was more than just interpreting word for word," she says. "It was connecting with the community." Gracia learned quickly that there were greater needs not being addressed with specific populations. She discovered that being a crime scene investigator limited her ability to confront root causes of crime, disparity, and access that the Latino and undocumented communities face. Gracia realized that she could create a bigger impact by becoming a police officer.

Madison caught Gracia's attention, especially because of MPD's community engagement effects and core values that include diversity and human dignity. In addition to serving as a dedicated neighborhood officer where Latinos are the majority of the population, Gracia is currently the president of Amigos en Azul, a grassroots organization designed to dissolve cultural barriers and open lines of communication between the Latino community and area law enforcement. She humbly shares that this was never part of her career plan, but she welcomes the lead position because it allows her to have a greater impact than she had ever imagined.

Gracia believes that anyone with language fluency can interpret or translate messages. "However, it takes much more to understand a culture," she adds. What her community members experience is not new. "I know the struggle. I know the fear," says Gracia. "It is important to give these families some reassurance, and show that I understand where they are coming from." Building community and trust is Gracia's top priority - and she firmly believes police cannot do it alone.

Gracia Rodriguez

 Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the Police Blotter email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.

Posts By Month

Posts By Category

Tags

#Back2SchoolSAFETYTIPS  #BattleOfTheBadges  #ClickItOrTicket  #CommunitySurvey  #ConeWithACop  #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver  #DrugTakeBack  #GoodNeighborProject  #HelicopterParent  #MPDMotorUnit  #NightlyLockup  #PrideMonth  #SafetyTips  #ScamAlert  #SearchAndRescue  #SouthSideSoccerSeries  #WeAreThe28  Amigos en Azul  Bigs In Blue  Bike Rides  Black Youth Academy  Budget Process  Capt. Cory Nelson  Captain Ackeret  Captain Freedman  Captain Patton  Central District  Ceremonies  Citizen Recognition  Coffee with a Cop  Community Academy  Community Awards  Community Events  Community Forums  Community Gang Outreach  Community Outreach  Community Partnership  Community Policing  Community Survey  CORE  CRASE  Crime Prevention  Crime Stoppers  Crossing Guards  Cyber Detective Camp  Cyber Safety  Damaged Property  Downtown Safety  Driving Safely  East District  East High School  Edgewood College  Education Resource Officer  Emily Samson  Events  Explorers Post  Facebook  Fireside Five-Oh  Fireside Five-Oh  Good Neighbor Project  Guerrilla Grillers  Guerrilla Grillers  homeless  Investigations  Join the Team  K9  LaFollette High School  LeadsOnline  Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki  Lieutenant Patterson  Madison Area Addiction Recovery Initiative (MAARI)  Madison Area Recovery Initiative (MARI)  Madison Community Policing Foundation  Madison Parks  Madison Schools  MedDrop Box  Midtown District  MMSD  Mobile Device Safety  Mounted Patrol  MPD Awards Ceremony  National Night Out  Neighborhood Police Officers  Neighborhood Watch  New Recruits  North District  North District  Pawn Shops  Pedestrian Safety  Personal Safety  Pet Safety  Phishing Scams  Police Biking  Property Crimes  Red Cross Blood Drive  Registered Sex Offender  Residential Burglaries  Road Home  Road Home  Robberies  Safe Communities  Safety in the Home  Safety Saturday  Secondhand Business  Self Report Unit  Shooting  Shout Out  Social Media  Solicitor Permits  South District  Southwest Safety Initiative  Spanish  Special Olympics  State St  Straubel  Straubel  SWAT  Torch Run  Traffic Concerns  Traffic Enforcement Safety Team (TEST)  Twitter  UW-Madison  Weapons Offenses  West Community Academy  West District  Youth Programs  Zero in Wisconsin