Destiny Manaoat – When I was little, I told my parents I wanted to get into law with hopes to be a criminal defense lawyer. After majoring in Criminal Justice, I discovered a passion for law enforcement by various influences. Some include my family members that work for various police departments, as well as the retired officers I was privileged to have as college professors. Consequently, I knew I wanted to become a peace officer after going on my first ride-a-long. Going to each call was an inspirational feeling and verified what I want to do to make a difference in a community, for my loved ones, and myself.The Napa Valley Police Academy has been truly a life changing experience. I learned new personal capabilities by being challenged mentally, physically, and academically. The greatest test of them all was to not lose sight of my short-term goal of graduation. I’m glad that coming “out” to fellow cadets built a new level to speak about my lifestyle in a group setting. It was an uplifting feeling to be accepted for who I am and not treated any differently while coming from different backgrounds. My plan is to help others realize that any person from the LGTBQ community should be looked at as an individual and not solely on whom they want to share their life with. I’m fulfilled that overall, I was able to grow as a person and grow closer to my dreams through my time at the academy. My current long-term goal is to work for Marin County Sheriff’s Department and I plan on doing whatever it takes to achieve my desired profession.
Catalina Hernandez – Ever since middle school I knew I wanted to be involved in law enforcement. I attended college at UC Davis and graduated with a bachelors degree in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies. This was one of the best decisions I have made, and it was through my double major where I gained a better understanding of issues ranging from inequality, race, class, gender, criminology, law, etc. I began working for the UC Davis Police Department as a campus security officer during my sophomore year of college, and later enlisted in the Army National Guard in order to gain more experience. During my final year of college I had the opportunity to join the first cadet program for UC Davis Police Department which solidified my desire to pursue a career in law enforcement. I was chosen as one of the top three cadets who would be sponsored to go to through the academy and upon completion be hired with the department. The twenty plus weeks I have experienced here at the academy have not been easy. Aside from the academy curriculum and physical requirements, this has also been a self-development experience for it would was the first time I came out to a large group of people that I did not know very well. I had always been careful about who I came out to and always worried too much about how my co-workers or peers would treat me. Coming out to the then-strangers was a liberating experience because I no longer had to hide any part of who I am. This experience has definitely impacted other aspects of my life and I am now striving to live my life more openly.