NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Alex Rodriguez is one of the New Haven police officers battling crime in the city.
The 35-year-old has been a street cop for three years. If you call for help within city limits after nightfall, chances are he’s the one who will come running.
The path to becoming an officer was not easy but one he dreamt of as a child when his family immigrated to Fair Haven from Puerto Rico.
“I thought it was not going to happen. But it’s all on you how you set your mind and how you set your goals, so I told myself I’m going to do it. I’m going to become an officer, doesn’t matter how long it takes me, I’m going to be that guy and I’m here now,” Rodriguez said.
The New Haven Police Department wants more officers like Rodriguez. People who police because they care about friends in the old neighborhood, kids outside the corner store and the people who live on the same streets where they were raised.
It’s not easy to get in the pros — you have to put in the work. The process involves an application and agility test, and on the job, the stakes can be life and death.
Sergeant Paul Finch is in charge of recruitment for the department. He is hoping more people overcome whatever is holding them back, whether that is doubts in the back of their minds, naysayers who only see the negative or excuses that pile up.
Finch said if you want things to change, you have to step up.
“In this climate right now, the narrative has been written for police officers to be one way. But I believe we can change that narrative or you can change that narrative if you take on the role of being a police officer.”