Valerie Huerta

As Interviewed by Ava De Leon, March 18, 2018

Valerie Huerta: In Her Own Words

[My name is] Valerie Huerta, and I work for the San Antonio Police Department.

I had joined the Police Explorers program which teaches young adults insight of law enforcement and what it does and I fell in love with it. Loved all the stuff that they do for the community - the extra community service hours that they put in. It’s not an everyday job and so I just fell in love with that and continued on.

As a female, they’re needed on the department so male officers, they’re very encouraging and they help you out a lot ‘cause they want you on the field. It can be a little bit hard because we have to do some stuff that the males do too but the standards for us are achievable. Yeah, it might be easier for guys, but if a female can do it and show them that “Hey we are just as strong as you and we can do the same things that you do, then it is even better.”

After working seven and a half, almost eight months in the academy - busting your butt, training like crazy - it’s a big accomplishment. Especially with the academy that I went through because it’s one of the top academies and it’s not easy to get in and it’s not easy to complete.

Well, I wasn’t really fit going into the academy, but while I was there, I did extra PT sessions outside of work. I would go before work and work out. You also had to study twenty-four/seven because you have to have an eighty or above to be considered passing in the academy. So it’s constant studying. You have to make sure you are on top of your PT. You gotta make sure to get your rest and you gotta know what you are doing - at all times.

You’re already at a disadvantage because you’re a female. People are gonna see you and they are going to think, “Ah nah, she’s not a real police officer.” Out on the streets you have to prove to them that “Hey I’m a female but I can still do the same job.” Especially dealing with people they think that they can take advantage. You have to set them straight real quick.

There is a good amount of females on the department, but like with the shifts that we work, there’s only about two or three females that work. So imagine that for every shift we have. With this job, you have to have a kind of sense of humor and you kind of have to be able to let things roll off your shoulders because a lot of people are going to tell you a bunch of stuff and you just gotta be able to just take it and let it go because a lot of people, now a days, don’t like cops.

A male might be seen with police brutality, but a female can do it too. It all depends on the situation that you’re handling. There’s more to a call that people don’t see behind the cameras. Be a little more open minded. If a lot more people saw how much we help the community and saw how dangerous this job was to us. They would understand that some of the actions that we take - we’re just trying to keep ourselves safe.

I just remember, “Hey this is what I want to do. I came out here to help people." I came out here to make a difference in my community and that’s what I want to do. And at the end of the day, if I can just help someone, just a little bit, that’s all that matters because that’s what I wanted to do.