Georgetown Police Cadet corps puts Beatrice on the beat

 

GEORGETOWN — In the late 1960s and early 1970s, America tuned into The Mod Squad, with Linc, Julie and Pete comprising the crime-fighting trio.

Beatrice Perez-Vasquez, a 2014 Sussex Central High School graduate, attends college and has a job as a Cadet with the Georgetown Police Department.

In the 21st century, Georgetown Police Department has a cadet program. It’s mostly an on-the-street beat geared to strengthen community unity and raise awareness and visible police presence in efforts to address crime.

Currently, 21-year-old Beatrice Perez-Vasquez is one half of the cadet program’s dynamic duo. The other half: her longtime best friend, Jessica Rivera, 22.

Cadets do not pack firearms but they do wear blue and black uniforms, bullet-proof vests and are armed with radio communications – and mace.

Beatrice and Jessica are often paired together, walking the streets, making business contact and interacting with the community.

“Many people still ask us, ‘Are you guys sisters?’ We have been friends for a long time. We help each other and own main focus right now is trying through school. Jessica pushes me and I push her,” said Beatrice.

They are an integral bilingual link to Georgetown’s growing Latino community.

“In many cases, many Hispanics have approached us,” said Beatrice. “They talk to us and try to have a conversation with us to see what kind of legal procedure they should take. Then we refer them to an officer and then we translate from there. That makes it a lot easier for them to understand. When we patrol around the area we see a lot of Hispanic people and they say, ‘Hi’ and they talk to us. They ask about our careers. Sometimes, if they have kids they ask about school. That brings us closer to them.”

Born at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford, Beatrice has lived in Georgetown her entire life. She graduated from Sussex Central High School in 2014.

In this week’s People To Meet spotlight: Beatrice Perez-Vasquez.

At Sussex Central, what were you involved in?

“I did soccer, I joined the junior year. In soccer, I was a starter; I played defense.”

College?

“I graduated from Del Tech in 2016 with a degree in criminal justice. Now, I am going to Wilmington University and I am expecting to graduate in the spring of 2018. I am pursuing criminal justice.”

Beatrice Perez-Vasquez stops traffic during a parade in downtown Georgetown.

Family?

“My parents are from Guatemala. They are here. There are five siblings. I have an older sister, Jessica Perez-Vasquez, who graduated with me from Delaware Tech. We are the first ones from our family to graduate and have a degree. She’s a Rad Tech (radiation technician). We’re the first ones that graduated with a degree from our family. It’s a great sensation that our parents can say, ‘We’re proud of you. You accomplished this – more than what we did. That is why we brought you here.’”

Growing up, what did you want to be?

“At first when I was growing up I wanted to be a doctor or in some kind of medical profession. I took a class in high school. I believe it was medical class. I took it for one year; I didn’t like it at all. It changed my perspective of how it was and things you had to deal with. Then as my senior year, I decided finally on criminal justice.”

Why criminal justice?

“I believe we were talking about it in history class, about some of the procedures and then I just decided to do criminal justice.”

How did you end up with Georgetown Police Department?

“That’s a pretty funny story. Jessica and I, we have known each other since elementary school. We graduated from Central together. Then going to college, we kind of fell off the face of the earth. I didn’t know where she was going. We just didn’t have any contact. Then last year our semester we had a class together. We started talking together. She mentioned she was working for Georgetown Police Department. I told her that I was looking for a job and I was interested. She told me about the Cadet program. I asked if she could get me an application. I am grateful to her.”

Georgetown Police Department Cadets Beatrice Perez-Vasquez and Jessica Rivera.

The coolest thing about being a Cadet?

“The people, the community of Georgetown knows us. They see us walking around. People come up to us and say, ‘I’ve seen you patrolling around the area. You guys walk a lot.’ So, they know us. It’s like everybody knows us and we haven’t met them yet. Sometimes along the way we meet new people. For example, we would always go and patrol around Cinderberry and we would always say ‘Hi’ to this one gentleman. Finally, we didn’t know his name. One day I got on Facebook and I see the guy, the gentleman that we were talking to … and it is Senator Pettyjohn. Ever since then we know who he is!”

“We meet people like that. we meet other law enforcement … and they have positive things to say about the cadet program.

“Even though we don’t actually get to enforce the laws or carry tasers, the coolest thing is being behind the badge and having people respect you and respect who you and who you work for.”

You have immense respect for her fellow department officers?

“I respect them. I admire them. I say thank you for their service. It’s not an easy job. They leave their families to come here and protect others. They protect the community. This job has shown us many things. It has opened our eyes to different new possibilities. They are just wonderful people.”

“Coming here is waking up with an excitement, because you never know what is going to happen. They are not just co-workers. They are family. They talk to us. They make sure that we are safe. And they support us in our education, which means a lot.”

College studies, work and other commitments do not leave much free time?

“Many people of our age have (leisure) things to do. We’re actually really busy. We work doing the day and then we study at night. We work in the morning, and patrol. By 5:30 p.m. we have to be out. Then we go to classes. Classes are usually from 5:30 p.m. to 7, 8 or 9, then we’ll go to the gym until closing.

Career aspirations?

“Right now, I am open to any career, whatever comes my way. But right now, I want to work with kids and be a child advocate; work with kids that have suffered from abuse. Either that or be a probation officer and lastly would be a law enforcement.”

“I am open to any career. Yes, I think would apply to Georgetown Police Department. It would be an honor if I would get hired by the Georgetown Police Department. What better way to work and serve for your hometown?”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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