SHOUT OUT: A Dominican lawmaker and a delegation of Latino officers presented an award to the Bergen County Police Department today for reaching across borders to combat domestic violence.
Antonio Hernandez, president of the National Coalition of Latino Officers, said he contacted BCPD Chief Brian Higgins ( above, right ) several months ago for advice on designing a program to train police in the Dominican Republic in appropriately responding to domestic violence calls.
“Chief Higgins immediately offered his assistance,” Hernandez said. “For that, we are thankful.”
Higgins, in turn, said that when he was looking for an officer to conduct the training, one name was on everyone’s mind: BCPD Detective David Saldana ( above, left ).
Since Saldana’s mother still lives in the Dominican Republic, Higgins joked, “it only cost us the airfare. He stayed at his mother’s house and ate her good home cooking.”
The training that Rodriguez provided included curriculum development, instruction, and operational support. He brought with him certificates from the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute for the Dominican police officers who completed training.
On hand to present the award today was Congressman Alfredo Rodriquez ( above, right ), who said he represents not just Dominicans who live on the island but “Dominicans in the United States and Canada as well.”
A full 20% of all Dominicans live in other countries, said Rodriquez, who has a home in Old Tappan.
He emphasized that officials want to build on the immediate success of the partnership and invite more law enforcement personnel to his country.
“It was an honor to have your police officers there for training,” Rodriguez said. “You lifted up the honor of the Dominican Republic police with the courses you provided.
“I attended, and I learned a lot,” he said. “We hope to continue and build an ongoing relationship.
“We will invite you again.”
STORY/PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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