Officer Bobbie Terrazas
By: Candace Hopkins
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- She’s a New Mexico State Police officer, a wife and mother and a courageous breast cancer warrior. In this NMSP Spotlight article, we introduce you to Officer Bobbie Terrazas. Officer Terrazas grew up in Deming and joined the Army Reserves in 2000. The following year, she decided to challenge herself to earn the honor of wearing another uniform, the New Mexico State Police black and grey. Just three days into the academy Officer Terrazas injured her knee and says every day forward she was in pain, but she refused to give up and graduated with the 66th Recruit Class in December of 2001. That special class graduated eight female officers, a number that remains unrivaled to this day. Now nearly 20 years into her career, we sit down with Officer Terrazas to learn more about her journey.
Candace Hopkins: You’ve had a nearly two decade career with the New Mexico State Police and you served eight years in the military, four in the army reserves and four in the air national guard. all of those positions are male-dominated. What would you tell young women who are aspiring to follow in your footsteps?
Officer Terrazas: “For me, instead of saying male-dominated, I say male-populated. I worked construction prior to this, and it was male-populated. I was the only female out of probably a hundred guys, and they wanted you to work. As long as you could work, you could hold your own. I think the same applies here. It takes a specific person and the right type of personality to become a state police officer. It’s all about your attitude. If I can do it, anybody can do it!”
Hopkins: You were a patrol officer for 16 years before transitioning to your current role with recruiting and community engagement. What did you enjoy most about that position?
Officer Terrazas: “I absolutely loved it. I miss patrol even now. I loved just being out on the road. I loved the challenge of dealing with people. Just figuring out people and learning how to make a negative situation into a positive experience, to where they didn’t have a negative view of law enforcement. So, I loved it. It was my passion.”
Hopkins: Just a few years ago you got married and welcomed a young son with your wife, Raquel. She was working as a police dispatcher and has since become a police officer with another local agency. What would you tell other parents about balancing a career in law enforcement and raising young children?
Officer Terrazas: “You have to have a really good support system but it’s doable. Anything is doable. You just have to know that you’re going to sacrifice initially, to go to the academy. But if you’re willing to sacrifice and if you’re willing to put forth the effort, it’s doable. And if you’re willing to do it the reward is going to be worth it.”
Hopkins: In may of 2019 you were diagnosed with triple negative, stage three breast cancer, at 48 years old and after 19 years with NMSP. You describe yourself as someone who has never backed down from a challenge. How has your perception changed on what it means to take on a daunting challenge, like cancer?
Officer Terrazas: “Everything I accomplished throughout my career, in this agency and the military, was just that stubborn individual. If there’s a mountain, I’m going to climb it. I think that’s the hard part. I’m used to running about 200 miles an hourand I think right now I run at about 25 percent. And so that’s the hard part for me, is accepting where I’m at. Without getting cancer I don’t know if I would be the person that I am now. After getting cancer I’ve learned so much about what’s important and the things that are important and the people in my life that are important. Take the time to spend time with the people that you care about.”
Hopkins: When you do eventually retire, what will you remember most about your career with the New Mexico State Police?
Officer Terrazas: “I’ll remember taking care of people. I took care of people in my district. They literally had my cell phone number. They could call me 24/7. Criminals had my cell phone number. When I got sick and a Go Fund Me was started for me, the community basically said, you took care of us, let us take care of you. I thought people hated me because I was a strict person. I was extremely strict, but I was fair, and I was firm, and I’d give you the shirt off my back, if I had it. If I needed to find you a place to stay, I would pay for it. But to know that it didn’t go unnoticed. It was a huge response. Just that support was probably the most life-altering thing I’ve ever been through.”
Hopkins: What do you wish people knew about police officers like yourself?
Officer Terrazas: “You have good people and bad people in every field. For me, I always wanted every police experience to be a positive police experience. Even if you’re taking someone to jail, it can still be a positive experience. It’s just how you treat people. I know who I am, and I know how I treat people and that’s so important because you have to build a connection with your community and you have to take care of the people you work around.”
Officer Terrazas is currently stationed in District 5 Albuquerque with Community Engagement and Recruiting. She continues to battle breast cancer, facing several more procedures in the future. The New Mexico State Police want to thank her for sharing her story and are honored by her continued, courageous dedication to the department and the people of this state.
Thank you for reading our first Officer Spotlight. We look forward to sharing more stories about the officers who make up NMSP.