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Orange County commander shares her inspiring story

An O.C. Sheriff's Department commander is proud of her Latina heritage and draws strength from that support.
October 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cmdr. Linda Solorza of the Orange County Sheriff's Department is proud of her Latina heritage and draws strength from that support.

She may now spend her days behind a desk, but Solorza is helping lead the way in law enforcement.

After Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Solorza is the second highest ranking woman in the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Her grandparents immigrated from Mexico, and her Latina roots are something she takes great pride in.

"My mom grew up in Kansas. She was the first Hispanic homecoming queen in a small town there, and she will tell the story of the places she couldn't even go in the '50s," said Solorza. "My mother has said to me on more than one occasion, 'If your grandmother was alive today, she wouldn't believe it because she wouldn't believe a woman could do this.'"

Twenty-seven years ago, Solorza wondered the same thing herself. With few women in the department, she questioned if she had what it took.

"I think at the time because you were so much the exception to the rule, you had to do it better; you had to do it twice as well," said Solorza.

Today, Solorza is quick to credit her rise through the ranks to those around her, those who inspired and enabled her, especially her mom and dad.

"I remember when I was promoted to sergeant, he said, 'When can you take the lieutenant's test?' And then I promoted to lieutenant, and he said, 'When can you take the captain's test?'" Solorza recalled.

Currently, Solorza oversees all field operations and investigations in Orange County.

"So that is the patrol division, the entire investigations division, the airport, Homeland Security and emergency management," said Solorza.

"Law enforcement is more about communication with people and thinking quick on your feet than it is about physical prowess," said Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.

Solorza says community is what drives her.

"At the end of the day, isn't that what it's really all about? It's the two entities coming together to make sure that our children have a safe place to grow up, that our parents are cared for as they get older, that our schools are safe," said Solorza.


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