A former special officer for the Saudi Arabian embassy in D.C. is joining the state fire marshal's office in Southern Maryland next year.
Helys Valles will attend a police academy in Carroll County before being sworn into the fire marshal's office in Southern Maryland, which is headquartered in Prince Frederick. She is expected to graduate from the academy in April 2021. Valles has a masters in forensic sciences, and was a former special officer for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.
"She was very well-regarded at the Royal Embassy. They were sad to see her go, and we are excited to have her on board," State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci said in a press release.
Valles, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States in 2012, will also be the first Latino woman to serve as a deputy state fire marshal in the agency's history.
A fire marshal press release highlighted Valles as the first female Latino deputy in the agency, noting difficulties with hiring "minorities, especially females," in law enforcement.
Also joining the office in other regions are Alex Chinn, who is joining the lower eastern shore office, Benn Schorr with the upper eastern shore office and Adam Rounds in the western office.
New deputy fire marshals will perform field training with senior personnel over the course of 15 weeks, including investigative techniques, agency policy, administrative functions, determining a fire or explosion's origin and cause, post-blast investigations and fire safety inspections.