Yvette Gonzales works as a police officer in Dallas, where her daily challenges at work are recorded for the OWN Network's "Police Women of Dallas." At home, Gonzales is the mother of a 5-year-old son and engaged to be married. According to Gonzales, graduating from the police academy was "one of the happiest moments" of her life. "The eight months of training really wasn't easy," she says. "But wearing that uniform, I felt this great sense of accomplishment. I just felt big in that moment, like I could conquer the world."
A few months later, however, Gonzales went through an experience that caused her to question everything. Here's what happened -- in her own words.
My worst day on the job was a domestic disturbance. The suspect's father had called 911 on his own son. My partner and I got to the house and a female was screaming inside. The parents were outside waiting because they couldn't take the screaming anymore and they were so afraid. I felt for them. They had no control of their home, they had a son who was violent, and they told us that it had happened so many times that they couldn't take it anymore.
They gave us access to the house, so we went inside. The screaming was coming from the back bedroom. We kicked the door open, and a female ran past us -- completely naked, running past us into the backyard, crying and yelling, "Please help me, please help me, he's trying to kill me." Her eye was swollen and she was bleeding really badly from her mouth and nose. At that point, I just thought the worst, but we couldn't run out to help her. We had to deal with the guy who was now furious at us for entering his home. He didn't even understand how we had gotten inside.
Right away, he took an aggressive physical stance. We pulled him out of the bedroom, and then he started to fight. We tried to get him in cuffs, but we had such limited space due to the hallway that we couldn't get him under control. He was kicking us and pushing us. Then his father came inside. He was upset about the fighting and he began pulling me off of his son. I knew, right then, this was not going to go well. The wife came in too, screaming for us to get off her husband and son.
At that point, we had to call a Code 3: sirens and lights. The cavalry arrived. My fellow officers were able to pull the father off of me, and we finally got the son in handcuffs. Regardless, he's screaming, cussing us out, spitting and kicking all the way to the squad car.
The worst part, though, was after everything had settled down. The female came back into the house. We put a blanket around her. She had already calmed down, but when I asked her, "Can you tell me what happened?" she wouldn't tell me anything at all to help us investigate. She was very adamant that she didn't want this guy to go to jail.
So… that was really frustrating: to deal with a call like that, to deal with how traumatized she was, to physically fight the guy, and then in the end to have the victim tell me she didn't want to press changes. I was really disturbed. I left that house and started crying, which was the first time I'd ever cried on the job. I just didn't understand. Where's her self-respect? How can a human being let that happen to herself?
As a matter of fact, I just ran into her a couple weeks ago. I saw her and I said, "I know you. Where do I know you from?" Then it clicked in my head, and I explained that I'd been her officer on the scene.
"Oh yeah," she said, "He's in prison now."
"That's good," I said.
Then she said, "Yeah, well… we still write to each other…."
Even then, it was hard to hear that. I try to understand, though -- and I'll keep trying to. Beneath the badge, I'm a person just like any other person. I have a family waiting for me that I love to get to at the end of the night. I make mistakes too. We're all just trying to get through this life.
Watch the premiere of "Police Women of Dallas" on Friday, Jan. 25 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.