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Cherished Employee Proudly Puts Hispanic Heritage On Display

Publish Date 09/22/2022
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Irene Munoz was working at a prostitution decoy operation, translating for officers, when one of the arrestees had something to say (in Spanish).

‘I like older women,’ Munoz laughed recounting the story. “He asked me to put my name and phone number on the back of his ticket!”

That’s not your typical day at work for an administrative assistant, but Munoz, a proud Spanish speaker, has always maximized her skillset. That experience and a million more fun ones help explain why Munoz doesn’t have a retirement date in mind even after 41 years with KCPD.

“My kids tease me that I will never retire,” Munoz said. “I still love coming to work and I’m happy and I like what I’m doing. It doesn’t matter if I have a ton of work to do, I love it. What am I going to do in retirement?”

Munoz is the administrative assistant for the Patrol Bureau, KCPD’s largest bureau. She’s at the center of the hub in a position she’s held for 32 years. It’s her work-home, though Munoz was hesitant to apply at KCPD.

She couldn’t drive in 1981 and believing she’d work the night shift, it was easy for Munoz to say no when a friend asked Munoz to join her at KCPD. Munoz eventually joined as a typist and later received an offer to be a secretary contingent on learning shorthand.

“I enrolled at Penn Valley Community College and practiced every night with my husband and two little boys. You needed that to get a police secretary position.”

Today, Munoz is a mother of four and a grandmother to eight. She’ll be a great-grandmother in November. And in 2023, she’ll celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. There’s a lot to celebrate for the Kansas City native who proudly embraces and shares her Mexican heritage.

“In the past, Hispanics and Latinos, the culture wasn’t recognized like it is now,” Munoz explained. “Anyone who has ever worked with me will tell you I’m very proud to be of Mexican descent. That’s one thing my parents engrained in us.”

Early on, Munoz saw few Hispanics at KCPD and an even smaller number who spoke Spanish. That would explain how she ended up being the recorded voice on a cassette tape for the K-9 Unit that ordered suspects, in Spanish, to come out. However, Munoz is happy (and proud again) to see the number of Hispanic employees grow in the department through the decades.

Because of that increase, Munoz doesn’t translate as much as she used to, though she still enjoys it. Her mother never spoke English, so helping someone with a translation makes Munoz feel like she’s helping her mother and that her mother would be proud.

Service to others will continue whenever Munoz does retire. Her Catholic faith is important, and over the years, she’s taught confirmation classes and taken kids to cities across the U.S. to the National Catholic Youth Conference.

“When I do retire, my plans are to volunteer at the church and the school,” Munoz said. “I was doing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes with the parents. I love that, and I would like to do that.”

KCPD has many civilian positions available. Apply here.