Independent juvenile justice monitor, responsible for reviewing and reporting on Maryland's residential programs for juvenile offenders
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She takes over the position, which had been vacant since July, at the end of this month. Legislators voted last week to overturn the governor's veto of a bill to make the monitor's office independent of the executive branch by placing it under the attorney general's office.
Perez, 44, has spent the past two years as police chief for the city of District Heights in Prince George's County. She had a 20-year career in law enforcement in Hartford, Conn., before retiring and moving to Maryland with her fiance, an Army major. She headed a police division in Hartford that investigated crimes by and against children and later ran the department's overall investigations bureau. As a foster child who was removed from an abusive home at age 14, she said that she has a passion for protecting children from harm.
Perez and her fiance, who reside in Bowie, have five children between them. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and legal studies and a master's degree in public administration, both from Trinity College in Hartford.
"All I've ever wanted to do was to help kids who were like me. With children, you have to be preventive. You are either going to deal with them now, or chase them later. If they've lost hope, we've got to give it back to them. Juvenile facilities can't be just holding cells. We've got to make them realize that there is hope for them."