March is designated as National Women’s History Month and we’re honoring the many talented women who work for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. Through the month, we’ll be highlighting various employees through a series of “The Women of CCPO” interviews to give a small glimpse into the important work they do.
Wilma Guzman – Special Victims Unit Administrative Services
Q: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Wilma Guzman (WG): It’s a way to recognize hardworking women throughout time. Women that made history, and, in some cases, marked the path for many of us. Women like Sonia Sotomayor, Sandra Day O’Connor and Coretta Scott King inspired us to pursue our dreams.
Q: What woman did you look up to as a young girl and who do you look up to now? Why?
WG: My mother, Carmen Tricoche, is the strongest woman I know. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico by a single mother. Things were limited for her there, so she decided to come to the United States with her four children. Even though she didn’t know the language, that was not a barrier for her. She still worked hard and fought to give her children a better life. She raised us to be strong and not to give up, no matter what life throws at us. Therefore today I can call myself a strong woman. When I think about who I look up to now, there is no one else really that I can admire more than my mother. She’s my rock! With all her ups and downs, she has been able to pick herself up and keep going. That’s the same way I want to raise my daughter: to be a strong, independent woman that never gives up and goes after her dreams.
Q: What led you to work for CCPO?
WG: I went to Devry University to major in business technology, but in my first year I realized that it was not fulfilling my life expectations. I wanted a career where I could help people, so I decided to change my path to criminal law. This led me to going to the Harris School of Business and I majored in Criminal Law. While in this program, I had the opportunity to intern at the Prosecutor’s Office. It was during this internship I realized that this job was made for me. I’m proud to say that I’ve been here for 13 years and I’m still loving every minute of it.
Q: Can you describe your role at CCPO?
WG: I’m responsible for the day-to-day administration of the unit, which includes receiving special victim information and routing it to the appropriate personnel. I also transcribe numerous recorded interviews of victims and witnesses and help the detectives and prosecutors with Spanish translations.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
WG: Knowing that I can put my bilingual skills to good use by helping families that have that language barrier. Helping them feel comfortable at coping in their native language. What a lot of people do not know is that despite speaking the same language, there are different dialects to the Spanish language. I’m glad that I’m able to understand quite a few of those dialects and that I’m able to help the detectives and prosecutors understand them. It is very rewarding for me that I’m able to help in that type of way.
Q: What is something about your job that would surprise people if they learned it?
WG: The amount of dedication that our unit as a whole puts in daily to help the families. We work as one and come together as a family to get the work done. The amount of statements that I have had to transcribe has been an eye opener for me and make me realize some of the many issues in our society.
Q: What message would you share with the young women of the world?
WG: You are strong woman, a warrior, and you are capable of doing anything you put your mind to. There are going to be people that are going to try to knock you down, but don’t let their negativity stop you from reaching your dreams and thriving in society.
Q: Anything else that you would like to share?
WG: My favorite verse, “Be strong and courageous for the Lord is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9.