Connect & Serve

A Madison police officer finds her niche

When children are asked what they would like to be when they grow up, police officer is usually near the top of the list. By the time they become adults, those dreams often change. Gloria Reyes is an exception. Her childhood goal of becoming a detective only grew stronger with age.

After graduating from Madison’s police academy in 2002, Reyes spent the first eight years of her career working in various positions in the criminal justice system. As a neighborhood police officer on the city’s south side, she quickly learned the value of building relationships. “I loved the area and the people,” she says. “It gave me the opportunity to recognize areas that we could improve on as a community.”

It was while working as an investigator at the public defender’s office that Reyes saw a huge need for bilingual officers and detectives. It strengthened her drive and determination to accomplish her goal of one day becoming a detective. “It was very important to me as a Latina to strive to make a difference in my community,” she says. “Being a detective was one of the ways I can do so.”

After serving as a financial crimes detective dealing with fraud and identity theft, Reyes now works as one of four officers in the Madison Police Department’s Criminal Intake Unit. Their job is to review all arrest records and reports to make sure that the proper procedures are followed. They are the last set of eyes before those reports reach the district attorney’s office.

In 2004, Reyes helped to start Amigos en Azul, which means Friends in Blue. They are a diverse group of officers dedicated to building trust and breaking down barriers between the police department and the Latino community and beyond. “Being able to effectively communicate and to be seen as someone who’s a friend and not an enemy is an example of effective community policing.”

• Born in Wautoma, Wisconsin
• Graduated from UW–Madison in 1996 with degrees in Behavioral Science and Law & Criminal Justice
• Board of Directors, Centro Hispano
• Board of Directors, Wisconsin Association of Women Police Officers
• President, Dane County Chapter, National Latino Peace Officers Association

Community Celebration  
A shout-out to Mona Adams Winston, Annie Weatherby-Flowers, Jessica Strong and Ronnicia Johnson-Walker and all of the folks who continue to make the annual Juneteenth Celebration a success. The event just celebrated its twenty-third year, and its continued growth reflects the true meaning of community.

A Tragic Case
Thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was recently found guilty of forty-five counts of sexual abuse of at least ten boys. Now adults, these men stood up in court and confronted the man who terrorized them all those years ago. Their bravery can never be understated.

Working Together
Now that the recalls are over, we need to figure out how we can set differences aside and work together for a better Wisconsin. While the economy shows flashes of improvement, the truth is that there are still a lot of people who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s way past time for less political rhetoric, more economic growth. 

Derrell Connor hosts “Outreach” on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA, pens a column for Channel 3000 and freelances for Madison Magazine.

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