Boise Police announce new Refugee Liaison Officer

Posted at 12:05 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 14:05:06-05

Boise Police Officer Jessica Perkins is taking over as the department’s newest Refugee Liaison Officer, replacing former Liaison Officer Dustin Robinson.

Robinson has been assigned to the Boise Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit.

Perkins comes to the Refugee Liaison position after spending the first five years of her police career as a Patrol Officer. She applied for the position last fall and spent three months working with Officer Robinson building the necessary relationships and knowledge of the position to ensure a seamless transition, according to a BPD news release.

“Officer Perkins possesses both the internal drive and talent for this incredibly important position,” Chief Bones said. “Our refugee population makes up an exciting and diverse part of our community and Officer Perkins’ engaging personality as well as her dedication to helping others makes her an ideal fit.”

Perkins has served as a Police Officer for the Boise Police Department since 2014. She has worked on many different shifts and patrol teams throughout the city, including the late night downtown Micro District Team. She now serves in the Community Outreach Division as the Refugee Liaison in the Neighborhood Contact Officer Unit.

“Police work, at its core, is about problem solving,” she said. “The work is varied -- and helping solve individual and community problems in an effort to make Boise safer every day is a rewarding and fulfilling opportunity.”

Perkins also serves as the Vice President of the Boise Police Activities League. The non-profit organization facilitates events and activities where local youth have the opportunity to interact with police officers in a very positive way. She has been a part of Boise PAL for the past three years, helping to support historical programs such as “PAL Boxing” and “Hook a Kid on Golf.” She has also helped to create new opportunities such as Ninja Warrior classes and paddle boarding excursions.

“Boise PAL provides an invaluable platform to reach out to our most important resources in the community, our children. Getting the chance to break down barriers and create relationships between those kids and our officers, that’s what makes this job extraordinary.”

“We have such a fantastic lifestyle here in Boise, with the nicest people you’ll probably ever meet. To have the opportunity to help welcome our newest community members to Boise and make sure they have the resources they need to thrive and become a part of that lifestyle, that is something I am very excited to do,” she said.

The position is part of the Neighborhood Contact Officer Unit under the Community Outreach Division and was founded by Officer Shelli Sonnenberg in 2006. Officer Robinson was the department's Refugee Liaison Officer from 2012 to January of this year.

The Refugee Liaison Officer works directly with refugees, refugee resettlement agencies and refugee stakeholders. The liaison officer works to learn about different cultures and life as a refugee, studying the path a refugee takes from displacement of his or her home country to resettlement in Boise, to better understand the troubles and trials a refugee faces as they attempt to integrate into our community.

The Refugee Liaison Officer position was designed to focus on the integration of refugees through outreach, educations about laws, public and community resources and culture adjustment.

(photo courtesy: Boise Police Department)