Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies Estevan Perez and Carmen Gudiel enjoyed an afternoon of recognition for their dedication to public safety from leaders at the local and state level of government.
“It’s a great honor,” Gudiel said. “My heritage, my culture and everything that my parents brought from their country and taught me has made me who I am today, and it got me here. It not only shows my hard work, but their hard work and everything they did for me.”
Assemblywoman Suzzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda, Councilwoman Marsha McLean, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger presented the two deputies with certificates on Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Ceremonial Garden.
Valladares is recognizing outstanding Latinos in her district, which includes most of the SCV, in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month. Miranda, McLean and Barger joined in as an act of support for the two deputies and the rest of the sheriff’s station.
“We support you guys 100%,” Miranda said. “We have always supported you guys 100%, and we will continue to support the Sheriff’s Department 100% as long as we are on council.”
Perez began as a patrol officer at the Lancaster station for about seven years before transferring to the SCV Sheriff’s Station. He has notable arrest numbers and dozens of accolades from supervisors and citizens, too.
“Steve is one of those reliable guys, always smiling, always volunteering for everything,” Sheriff’s Capt. Justin Diez said. “We are very fortunate to have him here at this station.”
Gudiel has been with the department for 16 years and started as a reserve deputy before accepting a full-time deputy position.
“Carmen has a very unique story,” Diez said. “She had a bad injury during training, and probably for a lot of people in the department it would have been a career-ending injury, but Carmen came back and became a productive member of the station.”
Her skills were recognized by her supervisors and managers, and ultimately, she was selected to be an operations deputy, Diez added.
“She helps us run the entire station,” Diez said. “That’s everything from paperwork to COVID-related mandates, and more. We certainly couldn’t operate without you and I don’t physically know what I would do without you.”
Both Gudiel and Perez said that, when they told their families they wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, their parents tried to dissuade them. Yet, they stayed firm to their goals and have reached points in their careers where they are being honored for their work.
Gudiel added that pursuing a career in law enforcement is tough both mentally and physically, but the benefits serving the community make it worthwhile. Perez said he would encourage more Hispanic people to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“We don’t always meet people on their best days and having that knowledge, culture and background, you can understand and help others,” Perez said.