“On behalf of the Chicago Bureau of Investigation, I am honoured to speak before the Chicago Latin American Unity Conference.”
Alex Ortiz’s family moved to Chicago from Cuba in 1949, but that doesn’t stop people from calling her a “wetback” behind her back, and sometimes even to her face. Alex graduated at the top of her class from the CBI Academy, and since then she has been a capable and conscientious police officer, which is, of course, why her promotions have been slow in coming. It’s not due to racism, as a number of people in City Hall would love to advance the career of a bright, photogenic Latina for purely political reasons, but only if they were certain she would play ball when it came to improving the CBI’s shaky public image. Unfortunately, a few people in City Hall still remember that the Citadel Heights scandal that brought down almost the entire city government in the late 1980s exploded after a Hispanic female officer (the first to reach detective grade) leaked evidence of rampant police brutality to the Midway Tribune. Even today, almost 20 years later, there are still elements in the city government who are gun-shy about advancing officers who are both female and ethnic minorities unless such officers are certain to put the needs of the department above their ethic or gender loyalties. And in truth, none of the politics really matters to Alex. Although she has some aspirations of being a detective someday, she genuinely enjoys patrol work and takes great pride in her status as a role model for the Latino community. In addition to numerous commendations, she has also received several public service awards from local Latin American civic organizations. Regrettably, this attention has also caused some friction between Alex and some of her coworkers, particularly a small group of white and African American officers who are united in their bigotry toward Latinos. Aside from racial issues, Alex has also had to deal with a certain amount of resentment over her ongoing romantic relationship with Brad Alford, a local public defender who is particularly skilled at getting evidence suppressed due to police misconduct. Their relationship has led to some of Alex’s fellow officers accusing her of “sleeping with the enemy,” and has resulted in Alex being paired with the other officer no one wanted to ride with: the possibly unstable Neil Hurst. After some trepidation, Alex has grown quite fond of Neil, though she still has serious concerns about his fitness for police work.
Alex is an attractive female officer with Hispanic features: olive skin, deep brown eyes and black hair, usually pulled back in a ponytail. Her uniform is invariably spotless. When Alex lets her hair down, so to speak, she becomes a stunning beauty. Alex works out regularly and also competes every year in the Midway 10K Run. She also studies martial arts and has asked Ivan Grokolov to spar with her, though he refuses to do so out of fear of injuring her.
Alex is very nearly the perfect officer. She’s highly intelligent, well motivated and honest to a fault. Naturally, she may never see a promotion past sergeant for the rest of her career. Alex has only one major character fl aw: her somewhat excessive pride in her ethnic heritage. Even then, however, her pride does not lead her to holding any prejudices toward people of different ethnicities. Rather, it’s just mildly grating to her more openly prejudiced co-workers. Alex also has one potential stumbling block. While she has strong feelings for her boyfriend, Brad Alford, she has reservations about actually marrying him. More importantly, Alex’s fondness for Neil Hurst is on the verge of becoming something more, despite all of her instincts screaming that an affair with her possibly unstable partner can only end in tears.