Officer Joe Hernandez has a built a statewide reputation for his community-focused efforts to prevent gang violence and help youth choose a more constructive path with their lives. In fact, he was just named as one of Red Cross' Community Heroes for his efforts. As one of the founders of the department's PRIDE program, an active participant in the Citizen's Police Academy and a consistent voice for community services, Officer Hernandez is an easy choice for someone to "get to know better." Here are five questions for Officer Joe Hernandez!
Name your favorite view spot in Santa Cruz
Officer Hernandez: One of my favorite view spots in Santa Cruz is from the Pogonip Clubhouse. The view from that area is just spectacular. When I hike up there it offers tranquility and an opportunity to overlook Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay!
Favorite thing about working for Santa Cruz Police?
Officer Hernandez: My favorite thing about working in Santa Cruz as a police officer is the amount of support and appreciation the community has for us. We know that we can't always please everyone all of the time, but overall the community is appreciative and inviting of our department.
Best partnership with an outside agency?
Officer Hernandez: The best partnership and case I’ve been able to work has been with the Department of Homeland Security in the investigation of MS (Mara Salvatrucha). This is a gang that unfortunately has caused a lot of violence and drug-issues in our community. While I was working as a detective this partnership greatly aided in our open investigations.
What positions have you held?
Officer Hernandez: I’ve been fortunate to have been part of several specialty units which have included the Beach Flats Foot Patrol, Street Crimes Unit, Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team and Investigations. Currently I serve in the newly re-created Community Services Unit and have taught the Citizen's Police Academy and PRIDE program.