GAITHERSBURG, MD — The Hispanic liaison for the Montgomery County Police Department has died from COVID-19-related pneumonia, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Blanca Kling, affectionately known as "Blanquita," spent more than 40 years serving the department. She passed away Wednesday morning at 68.
"Blanca was not only a coworker to many but a caring friend," the department said in a statement. "Montgomery County and the world is better for knowing Blanca Kling."
Kling began her career in 1980 as a victim assistant specialist for Wheaton's Fourth District. In 2005, she joined the department's Public Information Division, where she was tasked with strengthening communication and fostering trust between police and the Hispanic community.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Montgomery County Council called Kling a "pillar in the Latino community" who dedicated her life to public service.
"A pillar in the Latino community, in 2005 she became the County Police Department's Latino liaison, where she would often appear in front of television cameras and behind radio microphones to inform, forge authentic relationships and build bridges of collaboration between our Spanish-speaking constituents and our police force," the council wrote.
Councilmember Nancy Navarro also offered her condolences in a separate post on Facebook.
"Our beloved Blanquita is now with the angels," Navarro wrote. "She mentored so many along the way and she was loved by all. I can't believe she is gone, taken by this horrific virus. We must honor her legacy with service and love for others. We shall be guided by her example."
Kling is survived by her husband Tony, two children, and twin grandsons.