Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz

Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz

Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz

Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz

Synopsis

"With this autobiography, Mona Ruiz and co-author Geoff Boucher spin a tale of one woman's private war to escape the tentacles of the street gangs that have carved her barrio into turfs where one misstep leads to violence. This page-turner charts the map of Ruiz's journey toward self-identity, tracing the tortuous path of her life - a life in which Ruiz assumed contradicting roles: gang chola, high school drop-out, disowned daughter, battered wife, welfare mother, student, policewoman and finally success story. At each step in the journey, Ruiz faced violence, ridicule and skepticism. She nevertheless prevailed in exchanging her badge of social defiance for one of protection of her community." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Many of the names of people depicted in this book have been changed. Talking about my past, my barrio and the circle of friends that I grew up in is difficult because there has been so much pain and loss. For many of them, the fact that I wear a police uniform now is a betrayal of sorts. I hope that this book will help them understand that I have never turned my back on the past—just the opposite, I believe I have dedicated my life to facing it and dealing with it. I never left my barrio, I never ran away. I stayed and I'm trying to make a difference.

I want to be clear, too, about my feelings for the Santa Ana Police Department. I am proud to wear a SAPD badge, and I am deeply grateful to the department for allowing me the opportunity to do so. In this book, as I describe my feelings at different stages in my life, especially my youth, I express some hostility and fear of police officers. That was how I felt then, and I think it would be wrong to say otherwise. Still, my father always told me that police officers were figures of respect, and deep down I always wanted that to be true. These days, as a patrol cop, I strive to make it true.

I also talk about police officers whom I have seen act (in my personal opinion) inappropriately, along with other officers who were distrustful or hurtful when I tried to join the force. Again, I think it would be wrong to pretend these things did not happen. At the same time, I want to be clear that the vast majority of my fellow officers in Santa Ana are clearly professional, dedicated and honorable men and women. For every negative encounter I have ever had, there have been, literally, hundreds of positive examples. The troubles or lapses in the department's history only show what a complicated, difficult mission it has taken on.

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