Article Written by: Tiffany Anderson
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Photography by Ruben Gomez
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Originally from Medellin, Colombia, Diana Muñoz considers herself a Greenvillian through and through. “We moved right before I turned 8, so I’ve been in South Carolina 24 years at this point!”
South Carolina has served as her home for most of her life, and she’s watched the community grow for the past two decades.
Her heart to serve led Diana to venture into law enforcement and policing, “My dad was an officer in Colombia when I was growing up, and ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a police officer.” She’s served with the Greenville Police Department for the last nine years and has recently become the force’s first Latinx sergeant. Helping her community comes first and, whether in or out of uniform, she wants to make a difference in people’s lives.
In her career, she sees a lot of improvements and a lot of room for growth, “Hispanics don’t trust the police, and from my perspective it’s very understandable. There’s a level of trust we don’t have with them, and when they’re having an actual altercation, they prefer to fix it themselves instead of calling us.”
Part of her heart in her new position is to make people feel safe to call the police when needed. One way she’s able to accomplish this is by speaking Spanish to them almost immediately.
“I work on speaking to them in Spanish, and as soon as they hear me I see they feel a lot more at ease and more comfortable telling me what the problem is.” Gaining their trust is essential for the GPD to establish healthy relationships. Even on her days off, she’s been called to translate over the phone, “I don’t want a language barrier to exist when trying to communicate with law enforcement. I want them to trust us.”
Both in her professional and personal life, honoring Hispanic heritage is very important to Diana to share with her family, wife Ashley and son, Landon, “Even after living here as long as I have, I focus on speaking Spanish at home. Being Hispanic is something to be proud of, and I want my son to see that.” Growing up, Diana’s mom made sure she practiced her Spanish to feel more connected with her family and her heritage.
Diana’s joy is helping people in her community and helping to build up the next generation by showing them anything is possible. “I definitely feel so proud. It’s so amazing I’m the first Hispanic in this role, and for that - I’m very proud of myself.”