That’s exactly what Deputy Commissioner Ramona Prieto wouldn’t mind seeing.
“Maybe we could never attain 50%, but maybe it could be a little higher than it is right now,” said Deputy Commissioner Prieto.
She was one of the first to not just wear a CHP badge, but sport the leather and boots as the department’s first female motorcycle officer in 1980.
“I really didn’t feel like anyone was picking on me, or I didn’t feel like anybody didn’t want me there. I felt like ‘Hey, I get to do this job. I have the privilege of riding a motorcycle for the highway patrol, could life be any better?’” said Deputy Commissioner Prieto.
Life is pretty good right now. Prieto is now second in command of the CHP.
“It’s not a job, it’s a career; it’s a family; it’s something that, man, you can be proud of that you’re part of,” said Deputy Commissioner Prieto.
Officer Cassie DeLucca, a 10-year veteran, thinks women can bring something to the badge that most men can’t. She calls it “verbal judo.”
“Personally, I can de-escalate a situation that can potentially be violent that’s volatile, and sometimes it just takes a female officer to calm the situation with just our demeanor,” said Ofc. DeLucca.
But if she has to get physical she will. And being a woman doesn’t matter.
“I’m well-trained. We have one of the best academies in the country, I believe. If it resorts to physical force then I have no problem going that route as well,” said Ofc. DeLucca.
Marissa Raya and her class are well-trained as well, and are literally going the extra mile, on a cold February morning.
It’s their final run before graduation. Running over the Tower Bridge, they take steps to their final destination, designed to not just empower the body, but spirit as well. A stop at the Peace Officers’ Memorial stirred emotions before the sun was even up.
But in the darkness they could see the light at the end of the tunnel as family greeted them on the steps of the State Capitol.
They know the sun will soon be shining on graduation day.
“After this run we’re OK, we’re OK now. It feels amazing,” said Raya.
Two days later, Cadet Marissa Raya graduated from the CHP Academy and was promoted to Officer Marissa Raya. She is stationed in Altadena, near her hometown of Pasadena.
The CHP just wrapped up an application period for new recruits. If you’re interested in becoming a CHP officer, you can learn about the next application period by going to the CHP recruiting or Facebook pages.