23ABC continues its coverage of Hispanic Latino Heritage Month, highlighting those in the Hispanic Latino community who are making a difference in Kern County. 23ABC's Bayne Froney introduces a Bakersfield Police Officer who says her background helps her serve our community better.
The Bakersfield Police Department employs 159 staff members who are either Hispanic or Latino. These men and women are part of the team that works to make the city safer.
Officer Christina Perkins of the Bakersfield Police Department, grew up in Kern County and has been a police officer for the BPD for four and a half years. She believes that her Hispanic heritage has helped her in more ways than one while doing her job.
"Bringing awareness, not just what they've contributed in the past, but where we are going now. And as we know, they are the largest minority groups in America," she explains. "Just being able to relate to the people we serve just helps out a lot. You know there is just no greater accomplishment to going to a call for service and they don't necessarily speak English and they are able to just be themselves and let go of whatever trauma it is that they are enduring."
Being able to be yourself is something that resonates deeply with Perkins, and something that her parents taught her early on in life when she wanted to take a different path.
It was Perkins' parents who inspired her to eventually work for the police force.
"I left for the Marine Corps when I was 17. They signed. That's not traditionally what a Hispanic community does, because I'm a woman. I'm a female. There are some very hard traditions to break away from but my parents were able to do that to give me what it is that I wanted to do."
"My parents worked in agriculture all their adult life, over 30 something years," Perkins continued. "And that's another reason why I enjoy service, because I see how all the community treated them."
Perkins said she is grateful for her opportunity to get an education in the United States while also maintaining her cultural heritage with her family.
"I love learning, and in this job, you forever learn. Every single day there is something new. Our job is impacted by community relations or just the community in general."
23ABC is celebrating Hispanic Latino Heritage Month all month long and we want to highlight the Hispanic Latino community members who are making a difference. If you have a story about the community, you can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.