Community Partner Spotlight: Officer Carmen Tejada

In continuing to highlight some of our community partnerships, Moises and I recently met with Officer Carmen Tejada. She provides police supervision at many of our youth community service projects but her role has gone beyond that. She has found ways to connect to our adolescent clients, encouraging them to make productive decisions in their lives. She has been a great asset to BCS, especially in our efforts to engage with our younger clients!
Officer Carmen Tejada, Bronx Community Affairs Officer
I first heard about BCS in a meeting with various partners and agencies in the Bronx.  The word “solutions” caught my ear. We heard that BCS is trying to help the community and forming partnerships with community organizations. It intrigued me and my partner, so we inquired about how we could help the program. 
Now I supervise and assist with community service projects with Moises. The crews need police supervision, to make sure things stay under control and everyone is safe. Especially with graffiti removal, there can be risks related to gang violence when you’re painting over tags. But more than just supervising, I try to talk to the participants and encourage them to turn their lives around. They’re doing their service, that’s good, but they also have a chance to make a change and do things differently. That’s what I think is so great about BCS. BCS not only runs community service, they also listen to the concerns of each person and tries to find solutions to their problems. It’s how I think it should be because there should be a way for people to make a change in their lives; it shouldn’t be ‘no way out’. These are people who have committed crimes, but at the end of the day they still go home to a community where they live.  And I think doing this kind of work, with the special attention BCS gives them, makes them think twice before committing another crime. BCS gives them positive feedback. They’re doing the service, sure, but they get so much more than that. And they take this positive influence back out to their community and who knows, maybe preventing future offenses by passing the message on to others. 
Since BCS has been around, I’ve noticed that the areas where they do work are cleaner and the quality of life is more presentable. And when the community hears about a project that BCS takes on to make the neighborhood cleaner, it sparks an idea and they start saying, “I want that in my neighborhood too!” And they start thinking about ways to make a positive change in their community.
I wanted things to be done differently, and BCS is doing that. You want to just wave a magic wand all over the Bronx, but you can’t. But the part they do, it helps. It makes it a little better.  They never give up trying to find solutions. BCS has a vision of a better Bronx.