By Tammy Moore Teague
Kelly Perez is one of the Mansfield Police Department’s newest recruits. She’s far from a newcomer in law enforcement, however. It takes a lot of grit to be a female in a male dominated career. That character and toughness makes Kelly an excellent patrol officer. “I may be the only female in our agency but I am treated no different. I like it that way. I know if I needed help they would be there as quick as they could. Not because I am a female but because that’s what we do. We take care of each other.”
Perez, 33, was born in Claremore, Oklahoma. Her parents are Don and Brenda Swindle. She has seven siblings, five brothers and two sisters. “I have lost 2 of those siblings, one brother and one sister, to drugs,” she said.
Perez grew up in Walnut Shade, Missouri. She attended Branson Schools until age 16. “I left school to continue working to help my family. It wasn’t until nearly 10 years later I realized how important it was for me to complete school and graduate.” It was at this time, fall of 2010, Perez began taking classes at the Rich Mountain Community College In Waldron. She completed the courses and graduated. “My father, was so proud that he cried.”
She will celebrate 17 years of marriage this month. She and her husband have three children, Abigail, 11, Uriah, 10, and Benjamin who is two. “We moved to Waldron about 10 years ago and have been enjoying our little piece of Heaven out here,” Perez added.
She always knew she wanted a job where she had the ability to help people. As she began her career at the Scott County Detention Center she realized she had been given that opportunity. A sobering realization came as she lost her sister to an overdose of meth three years ago. “After coming back from her funeral I made a real decision to try and further my career in law enforcement.”
It was Huntington’s Chief Brandon Odel who gave her that chance and sent Perez to Reserve School. She graduated October 2016 and shortly after graduating, took a job as a transport officer. With this job she transported prisoners all across the country. “It was an amazing job and an amazing opportunity.” Although Perez enjoyed the travel it was being away from her children that ultimately lead to her seeking a position close to home. Perez accepted a job as a reserve officer for the Scott County Sheriff’s Department and worked there until October of 2017.
It was then she joined Mansfield’s Police Department. “Chief Farmer has been great to work for and with,” concluded Perez. “I really enjoy working for Mansfield. It’s amazing having a job you love doing. It’s also great getting to do it here. I look forward to continuing the opportunity to serve the residents of Mansfield.”