San Diego County’s first Hispanic police chief hopes to inspire the next generation of officers – GNT NEWS

For Magda Fernandez, diversity is at the forefront of serving and protecting her community.

“It’s important to me to represent my culture and inspire other Hispanics to achieve their goals,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez is the county’s first Hispanic police chief and only the second woman to head the Port of San Diego Police Department.

She was promoted earlier this year after 22 years of service in the department.

“It means the world to me,” Fernandez said. “I have a huge sense of accomplishment”

An achievement that did not come without hard work.

“There were a lot of challenges being a woman, but also being a Hispanic woman,” Fernandez said. “You compete a lot with men and it felt at that time, I know times have changed, but you had to work harder, you had to prove yourself more.”

Fernandez grew up in Arizona as a first-generation American. In 1994, she joined the US Coast Guard, which brought her to San Diego. Then, in 2001, she was recruited by the Port Police.

“I really believed in serving our country,” Fernandez said. “I really believed that the country provided a lot of opportunities for my parents, and it provided a lot of opportunities for me,” Fernandez said.

Today, as the department’s leader, Fernandez hopes to change the Hispanic community’s perception of law enforcement.

“It’s getting out there and letting the community know, ‘Hey, we’re here for you, and it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong,'” Fernandez said.

And inspire the next generation of Latino police officers.

“It requires a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of initiative, but we can absolutely do it,” said Fernandez. “And it’s up to us, with the growing Hispanic community, to make that change, to make that leap.”

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