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Rookie Officer Proud To Serve, Proud Of Hispanic Heritage

Publish Date 09/20/2023
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Just to the west of KCMO, barely across the state line, Aranzazu Perez grew up in Kansas City, Kan., fascinated by “The First 48,” a TV series about homicide investigations.

Detective work. She could see herself doing that one day, bringing justice by solving the worst crimes. The TV show clung to Perez, and today she is a rookie officer at Central Patrol Division. Perez graduated from the police academy in November of 2022 and has been on patrol since.

“They are not actors anymore,” Perez pointed out. “In the academy, you know the plan and the steps to take. In real life, you don’t know how people are going to react. They are real people with real feelings.”

In the real world, Perez uses her Mexican heritage to connect with the community. It’s an easy comfort when they hear her speak Spanish.

“When it’s a Hispanic person who doesn’t speak English, there’s a relief, “Perez said. “I’ve seen that firsthand, and I want to be the person to help the community. I want them to know we’re here to help you.”

That is especially meaningful to Perez when violence is present. Domestic violence, unfortunately, exists in all cultures, but a language barrier, she fears, could be daunting for victims needing life-saving help.

“I feel like they may fail to report or call police because of the language barrier,” Perez said. “I want to help people in that situation who don’t think they have a voice. They already don’t have a voice in the relationship, but they also don’t have one because of the language barrier. It’s more difficult.”

Perez knows the reason she became a cop – to help people – is cliché.  It’s also the truth. Her heart yearns to help others whether it’s in English or Spanish. Each interaction is an opportunity for Perez to represent her department and her heritage.

In TV terms, she is not a cliffhanger or a mystery. Perez is the person you see, a Texas-born, KCK-raised, first-generation American, improving her community by serving it.


KCPD has police officer positions available. Apply here.