Boise Police Chief William Bones is happy to announce that Officer Jessica Perkins is taking over as the newest Refugee Liaison Officer for the City of Boise, replacing former Liaison Officer Dustin Robinson. Officer Robinson has applied for and been assigned to the Boise Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit. We are grateful for the amazing work that Officer Robinson did during his time as the Refugee Liaison Officer and look forward to seeing him excel in his new position as well.
Officer 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 in the Fall of 2018 and spent three months working with Officer Robinson building the necessary relationships and knowledge of the position to ensure a seamless transition.
“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.”
About Officer Perkins
Officer Jessica Perkins has served as a Police Officer for the Boise Police Department since 2014. Officer Perkins started her career in patrol. 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. Officer Perkins says that what she enjoys most about police work is the opportunity to challenge oneself on a daily basis.
“Police work, at its core, is about problem solving,” she says. “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.”
Officer Perkins also currently 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 an integral 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.”
Officer Perkins grew up in rural Southern Nevada and enjoyed a childhood spent in the outdoors on her family ranch. While in high school she learned how to blacksmith and has been a farrier (putting horseshoes on horses) since then. The strong sense of community and amazing people in the Boise area immediately drew her in when she moved to the area 10 years ago. On her time off she enjoys running with her dog on foothills trails or on the Boise Greenbelt. Officer Perkins also regularly competes in powerlifting competitions and sprint triathlons.
“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.”
A glimpse at the Refugee Liaison Position
In response to the unique policing needs of this population, the Boise Police Department funds a full-time sworn Refugee Liaison Officer position.
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 Dustin Robinson was the department's Refugee Liaison Officer from 2012 to January of 2019.
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.