NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford police organization has given a student at UMass Law a five-year scholarship.

According to a department press release, the Hispanic Police Officers of New Bedford awarded Judith Patricia Cruz Caballero, Class of 2022 JD candidate and Bolivian native, a five-year law school scholarship.

Caballero is the second recipient to have ever received the scholarship.

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The award is presented to Hispanic UMass Law students who are also residents of Bristol County and have demonstrated a financial need.

Funding for this year's scholarship came from donations by 19 New Bedford police officers.

 

“Being in law enforcement and members of the Hispanic community, we know firsthand the value of having strong legal representation in the criminal justice system,” said New Bedford Police Sgt. Samuel Ortega, who serves as the department’s outreach coordinator.

Caballero said she plans to become an attorney focusing on either criminal or immigration law following graduation.

She is currently the vice president for UMass Law’s Latinx American Law Student Association.

The JD candidate also continues to serve the community and develop her legal skills as an intern for the state Department of Children and Families in Boston.

Caballero also works as an intake member for the Telephone to Access Justice Center for the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid — the second largest legal aid provider in the country, and the largest provider in Texas.

Her experience working with these organizations has allowed her to help community members who have a difficult time obtaining access to justice, Caballero stated.

“As an intake worker, I help low-income individuals by guiding them through the process of obtaining legal aid through TRLA or by providing other resources that can help them obtain legal guidance,” she said.

“The scholarship is important to me because of the current economic situation of my family due to Covid,” she added.

“As a Latina law student, it’s motivational to know that other Hispanics are committed to protecting our community and enforcing our laws. The more we support diversity in our institutions, the better off our society will be in the future.”

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