CK’s only Latina officer looks back at her first year on the force

A Chatham-Kent police officer said she wanted to give a voice to women of color while continuing to serve as the district’s first Latino officer.

Manuela Carmona Moreno, a 23-year-old Colombian immigrant, began her journey with the Chatham-Kent Police Department (CKPS) in late February 2022.

In 2008, Moreno’s family decided to leave their home in Medellin and come to Canada in search of more opportunities and a better life.

Moreno said that while her family was in no immediate danger when they left their country, the family believed they would be safer in Canada after her grandfather was tragically killed when her father was a young boy.

With the support of family already in Canada, Moreno and her parents traveled to the United States on U.S. visas and managed to cross the Vermont border illegally into Montreal and then on to Chatham. The day after they settled in, the family traveled to Windsor to present themselves as refugees. Over the next few years, the family gradually became permanent residents and later Canadian citizens.

Before deciding to pursue a career in law enforcement, Moreno said growing up in a rural community as a person of color was sometimes difficult.

“it’s here [in Chatham]I went through a lot of obstacles that I had to overcome,” Moreno said.

Now, as a recruited officer in the neighborhood where she grew up most of her life, Moreno says being the only immigration officer who speaks Spanish has been a great experience.

“I got a lot of positive feedback from the public because I was able to help the people who took part in the survey not speak English completely but feel more comfortable speaking Spanish,” Moreno told

Moreno explained that the Spanish-speaking population in the area is still small and she knows only 30 Spanish families, but she said that as more Hispanics move from the Windsor and London areas to Chatham-Kent, This number started to increase. The number of Latino immigrant workers in the region also continues to grow, she added, and bilingual Spanish-speaking remains an asset for CKPS.

“As a 23-year-old Colombian, the first Latino to serve, I think it makes me proud to be able to represent not only my own country but the people around Chatham-Kent,” Moreno said. immigrant communities.”

Not only does the young officer continue to make a positive impact locally, but back home in Colombia, her grandmother is eager to share Moreno’s story and accomplishments at Chatham through news publications Colombian.

“I’m honored,” Moreno said when asked how she felt about her story making world headlines.

Looking ahead to the next step in her policing career, Moreno said she plans to inspire young girls and her generations by proving that your background and race don’t define who you are and what you can achieve.

“I think we’re getting better [being inclusive] Diversity is embraced in Chatham-Kent, so I’m happy to see that,” Moreno said.

– File from Matt Weverink

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