Police officers are highly trained and have the best technology and weapons to protect themselves and the community. But a cop's experience and words often make the use of force unnecessary. News 8's Kevin Doran and photographer Jay Gardner introduce you to another one of Rochester's finest.
We hear the same thing from every cop. "Today is nice weatherwise, that means it's gonna be busy" says Rochester Police Officer Juan Morales. "The warmer it gets man, I mean 30 to 35 jobs a night that's nothing."
Officer Juan Morales is a problem solver. But sometimes people don't want to help and that's frustrating. He got little cooperation from neighbors investigating a break-in. "Once in a while you'll get people they just don't want nothing to do with you. Even when they're the victim, it terrible, they don't even want to talk to you then either. That's too bad. I mean you know, it's weird because you're trying to help people but they don't want your help. Not everybody, some people."
Juan has only been a Cop 7 years, but he's seen it all on the job and in his personal life.
.I've been in the military since 1983. I'm a Sergeant Major with the 403rd out of Mattydale, NY. I've been deployed four times. Was deployed in Bosnia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2005 and 2007."
After Afghanistan he got a call from the Pentagon. "At first I thought it was a joke."
It wasn't. President Bush invited Juan to Washington for the State of the Union. That's about when he decided after serving active duty and in the reserves and working 18-years as a corrections officer, he wanted to be a cop. "So this was it, I had to make it or I was done."
He entered the police academy at 40. Some the recruits in his class were half his age. "Having experience to me on this job is everything. A person comes to you with a problem, I can relate because I either had that problem before or I just understand that. I have kids, I've lived life so I know, I can relate to people."
Morales says he's is more into helping people than harassing them. "The job ain't all about kicking doors in and I mean people call you because they have a problem. If you solve their problem they're happy and I'm happy. You'd be surprised how simple some of the issues are. He won't stop talking to me! Sir would you please stop talking to her? all right I will. OK problem solved."
For example, an intoxicated man at Rochester General Hospital. He asked the man to come outside. They talked, Morales called his wife. She couldn't come, so Morales called an Ambulance to get him help at a Detox Center.
Officer Morales has learned words are powerful. "If I can diffuse a situation by talking to someone and not getting hurt or anybody get hurt, I mean I've done my job. That's what I do, I'm a public servant."