On Thursday, December 29, 2022, at 451 Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City, the New Jersey Latino Law Enforcement Coalition was launched. Hundreds of Latino police officers from the 564 municipalities in New Jersey came together with the purpose of taking advantage of all opportunities within the police department.
This organization will provide critical services such as financial education, legal advice, training, equipment resources, free bookkeeping services, entrepreneurship, social services, and continuing education. In other words, it will be an element of support and advocacy for Latino police officers.
The leadership of the Coalition has deep roots in Hudson County.
The Reverend Raúl Ruiz has served as pastor of a local Baptist church in the city of Union City for 38 years, and since 2019 has been leading the New Jersey Latino Coalition of Pastors and Ministers—an organization that has more than 430 churches, translating to more than 52,000 parishioners from different denominations throughout the Garden State—has been recently nominated as Chairman of the Board of the New Jersey Latino Law Enforcement Coalition. He said: “It is important that we get involved in building coalitions that improve the quality of life for our people. We have just celebrated Christmas, the birth of Jesus to a young virgin who lived in a marginalized town, with the purpose of ‘bringing peace to all men of good will’. Today, from the womb of the struggles that these men and women who patrol our streets daily go through to offer us protection, an organization will be born, whose purpose will be to give peace and security to these servants of goodwill.”
The Executive President of NJLLEC is Officer Enrique Encarnación, who has been a member of the Jersey City Police Department for 17 years and has been an eyewitness to the needs that the uniformed force often experiences due to the little information on services and benefits that exist for them. Encarnación affirms his commitment to be a voice of support, encouragement, and information for Latino police officers and says he is very happy about this achievement.
Officer Angello Aguilar, Executive Vice-President of the Coalition, expressed his pleasure and with an extraordinary smile, declared: “Thank God and the Reverend Bolivar Flores, Vice-President of the Coalition of Pastors and Ministers, for thinking about the police officers of our community and giving us a place to go to receive all these important services that we so badly need.”
Detective Jonathan Colón, Board member, said that this Coalition will “put all officers on the same playing field, and provide an enormous amount of benefits, regardless of [officers’] race, origin, or ethnicity. We celebrate the creation of this institution”.
The hope of this coalition is to become a beacon of light for all the police officers of New Jersey.