|NYCGayCop was born and raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. His parents were both from Puerto Rico making him a true New Yorican as he calls himself. He spent most of his youth working retail and in 1991 decided to join the NYC Police Department. In 1995 he was involved in an incident at work where he was shot in the knee and stabbed in the chest while trying to save another Police Officer. In 1997 he was recognized as the first openly gay police officer ever to receive the Medal of Valor from the NYC Police Department. In 2005 he was assigned to an Investigative Unit and was promoted to Detective. He retired as a Detective in 2011 and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he is currently living.
You were the first Openly Gay police officer to receive the Medal of Valor. How did you feel? Did you expect this would happen?
I was extremely surprised shocked and happy. I actually had no idea this was going to happen because when the initial incident happened back in 1995 I was assigned to the 24th police precinct located in Manhattan and then I transferred a few months later to the 78th precinct located in Park Slope Brooklyn, I received a letter from Police Headquarters in 1997 so it was a couple of years after the initial incident. When I showed my supervisor the letter he explained to me that someone from my previous precinct must have written a request for you to receive this medal and that it was a big thing. So yes I was extremely surprised and extremely happy.
Do you believe that it is easier to be an openly gay police officer today than it was when you came out? How did it feel back then, did your coworkers accept it?
Yes, I do believe that as the years go by it does become easier and people become more accepting than it was back when I was on the job. Back then most of the officers I worked with didn’t really want to talk about it. Although everyone knew about me because I didn’t hide it they really didn’t speak about the topic. I do remember going to my locker one day at the start of my shift and seeing pictures of gay pornography that was cut out of a magazine and taped on to my locker door. I just addressed it at that moment and stated out loudly for everyone to hear that if anyone had a problem with me to tell me in my face and not hide behind the pictures placed on my locker door. After that, it never happened again.
Sometimes there are certain groups of LGBT people that have treated gay police officers aggressively, for example, tried to forbid them to join the Gay Pride march, etc. have you ever experienced such kind of discrimination? Do you think this phenomenon is rising?
During my time with the NYC Police Department this was never an issue in fact when I used to march at the Pride Events in Uniform we would get such a loud deafening cheer from the crowd when we would walk by them. I remember getting chills on the hot summer day from all the welcoming cheers. I think it is sad that during this age where we should be the most united some organizers of Pride Events are trying to stop the Police from marching. We have always been a community of tolerance and acceptance and it’s sad to hear about this.
You worked for the NYC police for 20 years and retired as a detective, what do you miss about it the most?
What I miss the most is being able to help others and keeping in touch with the victims. I’ve always tried to go out of my way to keep in touch with some of the victims after helping them out. I always tried to treat everyone as if they were family.
What kind of changes do you believe openly gay police officers can bring to the system?
I believe when you have an openly gay officer on the job they can help others who do not have much exposure to the LGBT community learn more about our community. Many people have a stereotypical view of what the LGBT community is and by showing them we are just like everyone else it breaks those myths and stereotypes. Also, we can help others learn how to work better with the members of the LGBT community for example as simple as addressing someone using the proper pronouns.
You are a vlogger now, would you like to tell us a little bit about that? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Since I’ve retired I spend most of my time traveling mostly in South East Asia. I started becoming more active on Social Media and started my very own Travel Vlogging Channel on YouTube. I stay pretty active on social media and stay in touch with my followers on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook. You can easily find me on most social media platforms under the name “NYCGayCop”