MonicaSr. Cpl. Monica Cordova, 38, who works in the media relations office of the Dallas Police Department, was named police officer of the year.

During the fight to get equal benefits from the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board, Cordova argued at monthly meetings that if she were killed in the line of duty, she wants her wife and children taken care of the same way any officer’s spouse and children are covered.

When arguing her case with words didn’t work, she brought her four year old son to a pension board meeting as a visual aid. She stood up and said to the board that it was simply unfair that if anything happened to her, her son would not be taken care of the way the children of every other officer is taken care of. At that meeting, several of the seven hold-out board members switched their votes after months of meetings and officers with same-sex partners and children were finally assured they would get equal pension coverage.

That a lesbian would be recognized for her outstanding service on the Dallas Police force is somewhat amazing. In 1989, Mica England sued the DPD for the right to apply for a position. Gays and lesbians were excluded based on the so-called “homosexual conduct law” or 21.06, that is still on the books but unconstitutional. She won the lawsuit but was never hired. Not until Chief Ben Click arrived in Dallas in 1993 were gays and lesbians welcomed to the department and the DPD began actively working with the LGBT community.

On a personal note, I’m always delighted when Monica’s the officer on duty in the media office. She always gets me whatever information I need to get the news out. She’s a pleasure to work with.