Tragedy & Triumph of an LAPD Female Officer
Cynthia Juarez: Respected police officer, mother of 4, wife of a deputy sheriff convicted of stealing drug dealer money
Cynthia Juarez grew up in East Los Angeles and eventually became a Homicide Detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. After a 25 year career, Cynthia fulfilled her lifelong dream and successfully retired. This journey from a child in ELA to a respected and admired Detective was certainly not without obstacles.
Published on LatinoLA: October 6, 2014
"Women are not meant to be cops! You're too pretty to be a cop! You have no idea what you are getting into! You will never be a cop!" - Robert Juarez
Cynthia was married to Robert, 10 years her senior and a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff. In his opinion, women had no business even considering becoming police officers. As far as he was concerned, she would only be setting herself up for misery as a police officer. Finally, after 5 years of arguing, pleading and fighting, Cynthia decided enough was enough and she applied to the LAPD. During the 5 years leading up to this day, Cynthia knew that eventually she would be an officer and made it a point to get in the best shape of her life. A jog around the front yard of their apartment turned into her running 7-10 miles a day. She was ready! On September 15, 1983 it was official, Cynthia was a cop!
During her first 4 years as an officer, Cynthia enjoyed every day of it. Her reviews were exceptional and she was invited to join a specialized unit, Prostitution enforcement. At first, the job was fun and her partners were great. Unfortunately, a group of officers not willing to keep any boundaries, began to harass her on a daily basis. These events ultimately led to Cynthia filing a lawsuit against the city, and disciplinary action including firing the individuals involved in the harassment. In the end, Cynthia did successfully win the lawsuit against the LAPD. She would go on to be the very first woman to shift the paradigm and return to work after the lawsuit.
Little did she know that this would not be toughest battle for her to conquer. While her lawsuit was going on, her husband was leading a double life. By day, Robert was a respected undercover officer with the Sheriffs Department. By night, he was involved in what would turn out to be the biggest scandal ever to rock the County of Los Angeles.
Over the course of 2 years, Robert and 17 of his colleagues decided to pocket most of the money seized during the drug raids they handled. By 1991, the FBI had enough evidence to put all of them behind bars, including 2 wives and 2 sets of in-laws. Robert was found guilty of stealing over $400,000 and was convicted to a total federal sentence of 12 years. Needless to say, this did not sit well with most officers in the LAPD, especially the ones that did not know Cynthia personally. During the trial, it was
apparent that Robert did not include his family in any of his illegal activities. He later was quoted as saying, "I knew I couldn't let my wife know, she was the cleanest person I knew. If I told her we would have been caught for sure."
Cynthia pushed on as she always did and worked through the ridicule, comments and rumors. Robert was sent to prison and Cynthia's new life began.
She immediately filed for divorce and closed that chapter on her life. As she closed one chapter and ventured into the next, a new woman emerged.
Empowered, blessed, inspired, determined.... These were the words that now
surrounded her world. This newfound sense of inner peace seemed to be just the gateway she needed to open more opportunities at work. Before long, Cynthia was approached by the Captain at Hollenbeck Division and asked if she would consider becoming a Homicide Detective. This was a tremendous honor. Homicide Detectives are considered the best that the department has to offer. Cynthia decided to accept the offer and went on to become an outstanding Homicide Detective. As a matter of fact, Cynthia never lost a case that was taken to trial.
In 2007, Cynthia decided to begin the next chapter in her life and retired from the Los Angeles Police Department as a Detective II.
Today, Cynthia is passionate about making a change and using her experiences to empower women around the world. As a Los Angeles native, she wishes to focus her efforts primarily on the inner cities of LA. She has 4 children, 4 grandchildren, and keeps herself in excellent physical condition.
Email the author