NEWARK, NJ (VIA NEWARK PD) – His face and hands were covered with blood when Newark police officers spotted the man stumbling across Bergen Street, a major thoroughfare in the South Ward.
Police Officer Kelvin Arroyo guided the man from the busy road to the sidewalk, where he sat him down to see about his injuries.
Two new officers – Jose Ocasio and Karemis Perez – that Arroyo is training helped the man, too, and let him know that they would call Emergency Medical Services.
This encounter recently happened three hours into their shift as members of the Community Focus Unit, which was started this month by Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara to reduce gun violence and other violent crimes in neighborhoods.
It’s unclear how the man was injured. What is certain, though, he received the help he needed from the officers who say their job is to protect and preserve life.
“Everything’s going to be alright,” Ocasio reassured the man.
He had the temperament for the situation. Ocasio was once an EMS technician at University Hospital. His experience kicked in as he slipped on plastic gloves, and calmly asked the gentleman what happened. Perez was talking to him, too. The unit they belong to is about community engagement and making a difference with O’Hara’s Gun Violence Reduction Initiative.
When EMS had not arrived, Arroyo, Ocasio, and Perez took the man to Beth Israel Medical Center. That day was the new officers’ third month on the job, a profession they’ve always wanted. Ocasio, a former corrections officer, and member of the New Jersey Army National Guard said a Newark police officer had the biggest impact on his life growing up in the city. That officer, his uncle, raised Ocasio, is looking forward to having the same positive influence on Newark’s young people.
Perez said her desire to be a cop began in middle school, where Newark police officers left an indelible impression on her during a career day visit. She doesn’t remember what they said. She just remembers what she saw and how the officers made her feel.
“Becoming a cop has changed my life around. I feel like I’m making a change,” Perez said.