The Norfolk Police Department is committed to represent one of the most diverse cities in the region. Norfolk is home to over 244,000 residents from all walks of life that include an elaborate social, economic, and ethnic groups. It is the Norfolk Police Department’s mission to recruit, attract, and maintain a diverse work agency that will represent our city, citizens, and the communities we serve.
One of the best professional decisions I made was joining the Norfolk Police Department. I came to the organization with a unique urban background from inner-city New Brunswick, New Jersey. I brought a winning attitude, having played football for Georgia Southern University (Division I-AA), winning national championship titles in 1985 and 1986. I lived in a bleak and chaotic environment until my adolescent years where my experiences subsequently led to unfavorable encounters with law enforcement. As a result of these incidents, a decision was made that I would move to Northampton County, North Carolina to live with my grandparents where I began a positive shift toward changing the trajectory of my future. I began a rewarding career with the Norfolk Police Department in 1989. I was appointed Chief of Police December 1, 2016. During my career, I served in the Patrol Division, Metro-Tactical Unit, Canine Unit, the Office of Professional Standards, and the Gang Suppression Unit. After 26 years of service, I was appointed Deputy Chief of Police on September 22, 2015.
Having received several professional awards and invitations for several professional memberships, I have honestly experienced the significant advantages of diversity. My achievements and accomplishments are a direct result of diverse cultures, beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Diversity is critical to not only professional growth that provides organizational advancement, but also to personal growth. I often share with my staff and those I encounter that diversity is a major component to organizational success.
I joined the Norfolk Police Department on November 13, 2000. I spent almost two years in the police academy due to a torn ACL and meniscus. I graduated on August 22, 2002, and I started my career in patrol at the Second Patrol Division. I was then transferred to the Vice and Narcotics Division in 2004 after several undercover assignments. After beating cancer, I was assigned to the First Patrol Division where I became a Community Resource Officer with NRHA in 2007. I was promoted to Sergeant in 2011 and worked in patrol and the Training Division as a Sergeant. I was promoted in 2015 to the rank of Lieutenant working as a Sector Lieutenant in patrol and then in the Vice and Narcotics Division. In 2019 I was promoted to Captain and assigned to the Office of P.R.I.M.E. Affairs and as the Commanding Officer of the Third Patrol Division. I am currently an Assistant Chief assigned to the Field Operations Bureau. My career has been centered around community engagement as I have worked primarily in communities of opportunity. After 21 years, I still love and enjoy my job and every day is different filled with opportunities to meet people, problem solve and positively impact change through my service. The best part of my job is interacting and engaging with the wonderful people in my community in the City of Norfolk.
Diversity in the workplace is important because you can have a group of people working towards a common goal who have different cultures and ethnicities. As one works and develops relationships with their co-workers, a mutual respect and understanding for their differences is gained. Pre-conceived notions and bias are removed as you learn and appreciate everyone’s personal differences. It is these differences that makes the NPD a wonderful place to work. I have met some of the most amazing people at work and they are not just co-workers, but family.
During my time with the Norfolk Police Department, I have been assigned to Patrol, the Traffic Unit/Fatality Team, a precinct TAC Unit, and Detective Division. I have served as an openly gay officer, Field Training Instructor, Corporal, and Sergeant. Being an openly gay officer has allowed me to provide members of the LGBTQ+ community with a level of comfort when they are victims of a crime. It has also allowed me to be there for fellow officers when they are handling a call for service within the community or dealing with LGBTQ+ individuals in their personal lives or families. The level of acceptance that I have experienced within the community and from my coworkers has been outstanding. The Norfolk Police Department has allowed me to show that members of the LGBTQ+ community are committed to serving the residents of Norfolk, and that the Norfolk Police Department is a truly inclusive organization that treats diversity with respect. The culture of NPD allows you to not only feel comfortable, but also to include your partner in the police family.
I started my career with the Norfolk Police Department in April of 2020. Prior to joining the Norfolk Police Department, I was a Federal Police Officer. I joined the Norfolk Police Department to help people and build positive relationships within the community I serve. I am currently assigned to the First Patrol Division and have enjoyed my time here. Being a police officer is everything I hoped it would be and more.
Diversity is important in any work environment because it helps us see different point of views, we were unaware of. Having a diverse police force gives us the ability to reach many more people in the community. I am a first generation American; my parents are from Colombia, and I am fluent in Spanish which has given me the ability to provide police service otherwise not available since there aren’t many Spanish speaking officers. I feel like sometimes I am more relatable to people in the community and they can speak to me freely without fearing judgment which opens lines of communication and trust within the community that weren’t available before. I never feel like the odd man out or a minority because Norfolk has a way of making everyone feel like family and you know they will have your back. I’ve never been happier with my career choice than now. Working with Norfolk has been a tremendous privilege.
I started my career with the Norfolk Police Department on January 26, 2015, when I became a part of Norfolk Police Academy Recruit Class 96. Six months later, on July 23, 2015, I graduated from the Police Academy and was then assigned to the 2nd Patrol Division. For the last 6 years I have served my time in uniformed patrol, where I answer calls for service, and on the tactical unit, where I focused primarily on criminal activity. While on the Norfolk Police Department, I have also been provided the opportunity to attend many courses and schools such as the Special Operations Team (SWAT) School, Defensive Tactics Instructor School, General Instructor School, Police Training Officer School, Virginia Gang Association Conference, and the Impact of Trauma on Law Enforcement Conference. I am grateful that the department has been patient with me as I also work and do my required duties in the Marine Corps Reserve. This department has blessed me with some of the greatest friends, some who I consider family, and for that I will forever be grateful. As a Puerto Rican serving on the Norfolk Police Department, I believe diversity is important at the Norfolk Police Department because it allows for different experiences and perspectives to come from different backgrounds and to be shared amongst coworkers to create a well-balanced work force for better productivity.
The City of Norfolk is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is inclusive of all persons. Employment with the City is not limited by race, ethnicity, class, sex, gender, gender identity, transgender status, marital status, age, sexuality, pregnancy, disability, medical condition, education, spiritual beliefs, creed, culture, tribal affiliations, national origin, political beliefs and/or veteran status.