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Cristina was born and raised in New York City and attended the State University of New York at Albany.
After graduating from Albany, she moved to Rochester, New York and joined the police department as one of the first five women hired as patrol officers in 1976.
worked patrol, investigations, and internal affairs before resigning to attend Northeastern University School of Law
After graduating, she was a prosecutor with the Middlesex District Attorney and specialized in Child Abuse investigations and prosecutions.
In 1998, she became the Legal Advisor to the Cambridge Police Department where she represented the Police Commissioner in state and federal courts, trained police officers, participated in community policing and developed policy.
In 2006, she became the first Police Auditor in Eugene, Oregon.
She then moved to Atlanta where she was the first Executive Director of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.
During her time as Legal Advisor, she participated in the state wide task force on racial profiling, the Cambridge Homeless Committee, and participated in the planning of numerous special operations activities, including the Democratic National Convention planning (2004).
She has presented at the Georgia Bar Association concerning remedies for constitutional violations and is active with NACOLE, serving on the Professional Standards Committee and the Awards Committee.