TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Rosie Nadeau bridged more than one gap in her 25-year career at the Tulsa Police Department.
Nadeau was Tulsa's first female Hispanic officer, and only one of three Hispanic officers when she joined the force.
Upon her retirement this past Friday, Nadeau remembered her Spanish speaking ability was in high demand.
"We would get calls out of bed late at night," she said. "We were the only ones who spoke Spanish. Back then, we were translating for hospitals and for all sorts of law enforcement like FBI, Secret Service, the DEA, the court system and fire department."
Nadeau moved to Tulsa from Las Cruces, N.M., and worked initially as a clerk for four years. She worked in the traffic and patrol divisions most of her years on the force. In the last 11/2 years, Nadeau was a community outreach officer.
Her translating abilities resulted in interesting and difficult assignments, she recalled.
"I did a drug-sting operation with all of the federal and local agents that involved wire tapping," she said. ". . . I had to listen to all these phone conversations and write it down."
Sometimes her extensive knowledge was not enough, she said.
"I was translating an interview with an alleged child molester," she said. "I did not know the specific words he was using to describe the sex crime. I did not know the terms and I had to use a book."
Trying to think in English and Spanish and still communicate with people in both languages was an added problem, she said.
"You have to think like an officer and get the right message across while not alienating the person you are talking to," she said.
Nadeau said she has enjoyed her 25 years as a police officer, but said she faced difficult times because of her gender and her ethnic background.
"At times, I felt like an outsider because of those two factors, but overall, the other officers have treated me with respect.
". . . Law enforcement is like a big brotherhood and sisterhood."