Las Jefas

Celebrating Latinas in Law Enforcement 

Q&A With Mucia Dovalina 

I was privileged to interview a legendary Latina who dedicated her career wearing a badge and a pistol, Mucia Dovalina a 43-year Law Enforcement veteran, who started her career as a Police Officer in Laredo, TX at the early age of 19. A few years later, she took a job as a Customs and Border Protection Officer at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency where she will retire at the end of the month after a distinguished career. 

 

Q: As a Latina in Law enforcement, what are some of the challenges you faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry? 

Entering a man’s world has not been easy, but my faith and my family have given me the strength to do more. I remember my first patrol assignment with my male counterpart, he said – I don’t like working with “viejas” (Spanish for old ladies), so stay in the car.” What he did not know was that I was the youngest of a family of 10, seven brothers and three sisters. My brothers were always daring me to do things, making me stronger and courageous. My parents raised us with great faith and instilled in us that through God we can do anything, with the spirit of courage, not fear, so I have used this as my guide. 

Q: What are some of your proudest moments as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer? 

Mucia Dovalina pinning her daughter’s badge.

There are several proud moments, but the most important was leaving a legacy to my daughter, Kristyn Desireé Dovalina. I was honored and privileged this year to pin my daughter’s badge onto her uniform. She is now a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer at Ysleta Port of Entry, El Paso Field Office. I have also been very proud to have served in national and international temporary duty assignments such as Field Liaison in Washington, DC; Briefer to the Assistant Commissioner and, served as Assistant Director for Field Operations for Border Security in Miami, FL and training officers in Egypt. 

Q: How can we increase the number of women/ Latinas in Law Enforcement? 

Law enforcement force has made many strides, but we have not made enough strides to increase the number of women in leadership positions. A new initiative called 30X30 is aimed at increasing the ranks of women in law enforcement agencies to 30 percent by the year 2030 to improve the recruitment, retention, representation, and experiences of women officers and agents. CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus has signed off to the 30X30 initiative, as the first agency to sign on to the initiative in the Department of Homeland Security. 

Mucia Dovalina with her daughter, Kristyn Desireé Dovalina.

Although women make up 46.6 percent of the U.S. workforce today (Zippia, 2022) women in Law Enforcement make up only 12 percent of sworn officers and 3 percent of police leadership in the U.S. (Policing Project at NYU School of Law- 30X30 Initiative report). Women and Latinas continue to break the glass ceiling and continue to demand equality, and opportunities to be assigned to leadership positions. 

In the meantime, “Las Jefas” such as Mucia Dovalina are determined to leave a Legacy, and an example of hard work, pride, boldness, determination and conviction to the next generation. Officer Dovalina – Thank you for your over four decades of service and congratulations on your retirement.