‘Cops are my people': Union City boy gets to be police officer for a day

Danzell Ortiz is a student at Hudson Elementary School in Union City, when he witnessed 
kids fighting, bullying another kid and a police officer intervened.

“My grandson was in the middle looking at him, staring,” says Francis Santini, adding that she asked him what he was doing.

“He said, ‘I’m looking at my people,’ Danzell told her.

“What people?” she asked him.

“‘Cops are my people,’” Danzell told her and Santini says that whole exchange with the officer is the reason the four-year-old was chosen as special guest honoree for the “Officer for a Day” program.

On Tuesday officers with the Union City Police Department and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office took time out of their day to create a special experience for the little boy.

“I want to take the bad guys away,” says Danzell, on why he wants to be a cop when he grows up.

David Tafur always wanted to be a police officer and the Union City cop says growing up, there was nothing better than going to school and having one there to talk to them.

“What they do and their daily activities,” Tafur says. “That inspired me a lot so (he decided) when I grow up I’m going to return that favor.”

Tafur certainly did by organizing the “Officer” program.

Danzell and his classmates were also given Honorary Student Memberships in the Hispanic American Law Enforcement Association and they all learned what it’s like to be a police officer.

According to Det. Zulma Cabrera, from the Sheriff’s Office — they want to provide kids a positive portrayal of the police and to foster relationships with them while they’re still young.

“We have a lot of kids whose parents threaten the children with the law enforcement, but we want them to know it’s okay and it’s safe for them to come to us,’ Cabrera says.

When it comes to the kids — the detective says they’re the best part to work with.