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El Pasoan achieves dreams of serving as a police officer

El Paso Police Chief Zina Silva

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- "It's not easy. You know, you work graveyards, you work long hours," says Executive Assistance Chief of Police, Zina Silva. "It's difficult. It's very hard on relationships."

To protect, honor and serve takes sacrifice.

To 62-year-old Chief Silva, the sacrifice is worth it.

She is the highest ranking female in the El Paso Police Department.

Chief Silva says, "It was such an amazing and unexpected recognition of my work here."

She is in charge of furthering the department's software projects.

"I help the police department use technology in all aspects of our work," says Chief Silva.

She has 29 years under her belt and was inspired to serve as a little girl living in queens, New York. There was a hiring freeze in the Big Apple and Chief Silva knew El Paso PD was hiring.

"I was the first class over the age of 29 to join the department," says Chief Silva. "I've been wanting to do this for a long, long time."

I wasn't an easy task.

"So when I joined the department, I was told informally, Do not promote before you have five years."

That did not deter her from attaining her goals.

"Well, the department allows you to promote after two years. But my peers tried to convince me not to do that. So there was a lot of pressure.

She proudly promoted in her third year.

When not fighting crime, Chief Silva spends time with her daughter, competes in body building and ball room dancing.

Chief Silva advises anyone wanting to join the police force to just do it.

"It's all about self-motivation, drive and the willingness to commit and never give up," says Chief Silva.

She says it takes hard work and dedication.

"It is very, very physical, but it can be done - I'm four foot 11 inches, 125 pounds. I can do it. You can do it, too."

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Crista V. Mack

Crista V. Mack is a U.S. Air Force veteran who transitioned to news as a multi-media journalist.


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