DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — A University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Law student has been named the second recipient of the Hispanic Police Officers of New Bedford Law Scholarship.
Judith Patricia Cruz Caballero, JD candidate ’22, received the 5-year scholarship, which is presented to Hispanic UMass Law students who are also residents of Bristol County and have demonstrated a financial need.
A group of 19 New Bedford police officers donated to the scholarship.
“Being in law enforcement and members of the Hispanic community, we know firsthand the value of having strong legal representation in the criminal justice system,” Sgt. Samuel Ortega, the New Bedford Police Department’s outreach coordinator, said.
Cruz Caballero said after she graduated she hopes to become an attorney focusing on criminal or immigration law. She is currently the vice president for UMass Law’s “Latinx American Law Student Association.”
“The scholarship is important to me because of the current economic situation of my family due to COVID,” Cruz Caballero said. “As a Latina law student, it’s motivational to know that other Hispanics are committed to protecting our community and enforcing our laws. The more we support diversity in our institutions, the better off our society will be in the future.”
Cruz Caballero is interning for the MA Department of Children and Families in Boston while also being an intake member for the “Telephone to Access Justice Center for the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid,” which is the second-largest legal aid provider in the country and the largest provider in Texas.
“As an intake worker, I help low-income individuals by guiding them through the process of obtaining legal aid through TRLA or by providing other resources that can help them obtain legal guidance,” Cruz Caballero said.
Cruz Caballero promised to make the officers proud saying she is grateful to them for both the scholarship and their service to the community.