BXTRA with Jordan Castro

–Tatyana Turner

On Friday, December 1st, I had the pleasure of meeting with Sgt. Jordan Castro of NYPD. This extraordinary Bronxite is not just extraordinary for his service to the city; but for his literary contribution as well.

We started off with the show with the one-minute warm-up segment.

Castro shared the section of the Bronx he’d like to shout out, the author he prefers to read out of his two favorite ( F. Scott Fitzgerald & Shakespeare) and his favorite NY baseball team.

The last and most important question was : why should people watch this episode?

His response… “People should watch this episode because you are about to get insight on the profession of policing as well as the profession and craft of writing.”

Sgt. Castro  published a fiction novel called, ” Smoke and Mirrors : Police Dreams,” in May of 2017. This thriller follows a police officer, Brandon Rose, who is trying to reach the rank of detective to honor his father who was killed in the line of duty.

Though the book is fiction, it exposes very real matters that society faces today. One issue in particular is the relationship that police officers have with their communities.

“It is not something that can be repaired over night,” said Castro.

The PSA 7 Sgt. married his love for writing with the reality of policing. As a full time Sergeant in NYPD, he managed to patrol the streets and publish a relatable novel.

” I would patrol by day and write by night,” said Castro.

The Sgt. Castro revealed that he had a passion for writing since elementary, it wasn’t until 2014 that he became inspired to turn his passion into a 127 page novel. “Smoke and Mirrors : Police Dreams, came at a time when the tension between cops and their communities were high.

“It was that period in 2014, when for a lack of a better term, all hell broke loose. You had the Eric Garner incident in New York; you had the Michael Brown incident in Saint Louis, MO, and the assassination of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn.”

With each life lost, the country grew more divisive.

“At one point in time, it was like a line in the sand. You were either pro-cop or anti-cop.

These conversations are still going on today. I believe that works such as “Smoke and Mirrors : Police Dreams helps the nation have a conversation about how to overcome their fear of each other and manage to fulfill the needs and understanding on both sides. This led to my next question to Sgt. Castro…for someone who claims that they are anti-cop, what is your message for them?

He said, “Police officers are human beings, people tend to think that we are some robotic figures. We’re human beings, we’re your brothers, we’re your neighbors…we’re members of the communities we serve.”

“Now make no mistakes, you broke the law and there are going to be consequences.”

In each situation, regardless of how dismissive an individual may be, Castro makes sure that he extends an olive branch to every person he encounters. For those who have the mentality that all cops are the same and do not understand the community, Castro suggests that those individuals take the police exam…”perhaps they can make a better cop,” said Castro.

Sgt. Castro admits that police officers had and sometimes still have an intimidating aura. He reassures that this method of policing is changing in order to help mend the gap between cops and their communities.

“Police officers are now bridge builders.”

Though a number of people may frown upon police, there are some people, particularly children who respect the profession and may one day want to become a cop. Sgt. Castro has a message for our future civil servants.

” [Policing] is one of the most noble professions that you could go into…it’s about securing communities and making them safe.”

Sgt. Jordan Castro is one of the many cops in NYPD who are putting a human face to policing and a one-of-kind individual in the Bronx who is doing extraordinary things.

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Tatyana Turner is a Bronx native who grew up in the Mott Haven and Grand Concourse sections of the borough. She has experience in print journalism and photography. In December 2016, Tatyana graduated from Temple University with a degree in Communication Studies and returned to her home in the Bronx where she is applying her skills to further discover the extraordinary people and places in the place she calls home.

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