Jackie De La Garza first female police officer in Wolfforth
Wolfforth’s first female police officer wanted to be a cop all her life.
As a young woman, Jackie De La Garza said police work appealed to her because of the excitement, gear and police chases. Because her family background was in the military, she said the career “just kind of made sense.”
“Maybe at that time, I wouldn’t have been a good police officer,” said De La Garza. “Now that I’m more matured, got my kids, things have changed.”
En route to a career in law enforcement after her graduation from Lubbock High School, she had a car accident just before she was supposed to start Marine boot camp. After recovering and while getting back into shape, she discovered she was pregnant with the first of four children. She now has three daughters ages 7, 9 and 11, and a 4-year-old son.
When she met her husband, Ricky, she said her family screened him to make sure he had the necessary prerequisites for involvement with her family: namely, love for the Dallas Cowboys.
“My husband had to pass the football question before he was able to take me out on a date,” said De La Garza.
As a young mother, she said she worked to support her family. While serving as the coordinator of security officers for Lubbock Independent School District, being around police officers reawakened her desire to become one.
She went to the South Plains Association of Governments academy and graduated in 2007 as valedictorian.
After graduation, she worked as a police officer in Idalou.
Because she and her husband moved to Frenship in 2003 so their kids could attend Frenship schools, she was on the lookout for a Wolfforth position. She applied and started tests in December, and started the job in February.
“It’s kind of a conflict of interest when Frenship and Lubbock High play. But I’m a Tiger, I’m here for a reason,” she said, noting she and Ricky wanted a small-town atmosphere for their children.
To stay in shape for policing, she said she works out daily as much as possible.
“I try to stay fit because it’s a demand of the job. I like to run, I lift weights, I take karate,” said De La Garza. Occasionally she patrols Wolfforth on bicycle, which she said is a good way to talk to people while on patrol.
De La Garza said her children really love her career.
“I’m the cool mom, for right now. I know that will change as time goes on, and I’m not going to know anything,” said De La Garza. “They’ve been bragging to their friends. … I like to hear all that, that I’m the cool mom.”
Being a parent as a police officer has challenges. Because she has her duty weapon at home, she said she’s educated her kids on gun safety. She’s told her children what the gun is, what it can do, and, most importantly, “It’s not a toy.”
De La Garza said she has issued an invitation to her children to go with her to fire her weapon if they get curious.
“I’m very cautious about how they’re stored,” she said. “I don’t want them to be afraid to ask me about them. I do want them to be afraid of the weapon to a certain degree.”
One perk of her job is getting to talk to people, including students at her daughters’ school, Bennett Elementary School.
“I am so into being out in the community and talking to people,” said De La Garza. “The public service part of the job is so important to me.”
Wolfforth Police Chief Rick Scott is very supportive of the officers’ involvement with public service, she said, and encourages officers to do presentations such as those she recently gave at Bennett.
Other than cheering for the Cowboys and playing backyard football with her family, De La Garza said she and her husband are in the choir at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Lubbock.
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