RED BANK, NJ – TAPinto Red Bank has been offering a series of “Back of the House” articles profiling the men and women of the Red Bank Police Department. Our purpose is to have the borough residents gain a personal sense of the law enforcement officer (LEO), behind the badge and the support personnel who keep us safe 24/7. Hence, “Back of the House.”
We spoke with Red Bank Police officer Sargent Jorge Torres and asked him a few questions.
TAPinto: Tell us about yourself, where you grew up and how long you’ve been a LEO with the RBPD
Torres: I come from a very tight knit family. Hard-working parents and three older sisters. My grandmother lived with us for most of my childhood, which is the main reason I am bilingual in Spanish today.
I grew up in a small town in Essex County where I continue to live with my wife Lauren (22 1/2 years married), and son Aydin, who’s in High School. My daughter Alycia is graduating from Towson University this May and will most likely travel until she begins to pursue her Masters.
After sending myself to the Essex County College Police Academy, Alternate Route program, I was hired by the Red Bank Police Department in March 2008, so I have been here for over 13 years
TAPinto: You were deployed to Puerto Rico in 2017 after the island was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Describe your experience there
Torres: First and foremost, being given the opportunity to be deployed was a tremendous honor. My mother was born in Puerto Rico and I still have family there so I felt that it was my personal responsibility to help.
I can honestly say it was a wonderful yet humbling experience. It was difficult to be away from my family during that time. The days were long and hot, but my worst day there was minor compared to the long road the residents still had to endure.
Though there were many memories from my time in Puerto Rico, my best had to be the friendship I struck up with one resident named Carlos. He became friendly with me and my crew, and one day he made a roast pork shoulder, “Pernil” and rice with pigeon peas “Arroz con Gandules” which was absolutely fantastic! Though Carlos’ home was running on generator power, he said he wanted to make it as a thank you for us being there. We were able to reciprocate and delivered a van full of MRE’s (meals ready to eat), and cases of water to his church, which had no power
TAPinto: Talk about the moment or circumstances in your life where you realized that you wanted to become a police officer
Torres: There wasn’t one moment in my life that made me want to be an officer. As a kid, I just had a good relationship with some local officers in my town and I knew it was something I would love to do
TAPinto: As a Sergeant, what are your responsibilities and specific duties?
Torres: There are many responsibilities. I have to motivate, train, and supervise the officers under my command, assume duties of the lieutenant if they aren’t on duty, approve the reports written by the officers daily, and communicate with the oncoming officers at shift change, as well as the detectives and administration when necessary.
Two of the most important things I believe a Sergeant needs to do is be accountable all the time and be a mentor to the officers under their command, the youth and the borough residents
TAPinto: Prior to becoming a LEO, you were a chef. What are your favorite dishes to make?
Torres: Right out of high school I went to Culinary School, worked hard, a ton of hours, holding multiple jobs at a time. And by doing so I was afforded some really great opportunities.
I became an Executive Chef in New York City at the age of 22. I was a chef for 12 years in restaurants, corporate dining, an upscale catering company and was a private chef. I had the opportunity to cook for two US Presidents, senators, ambassadors and celebrities. I truly had an awesome time as a chef. Plus working in that career, I met my wife, so it was definitely one of the best chapters in my life.
I still love being in the kitchen and entertaining. I turn on music and get lost creating meals at home. Braised short ribs and Seafood Paella are two of my favorite dishes to make, but grilled peanut butter and jelly (ha ha!), is one of my late-night guilty pleasures.
The one thing I love now is that both my kids enjoy being in the kitchen and treat cooking as an art. One day I would like to return to cooking in a restaurant or even catering, but I prefer cooking at home for family and friends
TAPinto: How was the transition from Chef to police officer?
Torres: As a chef, I was used to working long hours, holidays and weekends, so the transition to police officer - which has a similar schedule-- wasn’t hard at all. And there are other similarities between the two jobs, especially the fact that as a chef and an officer you are able to bring joy to people in different ways.
I truly love that the Police Department and the Red Bank PBA offers many opportunities to build strong relationships within the community through different events like National Night Out, daily school visits, Coffee with a Cop, National Law Enforcement Torch Run, and holiday toy drive. I’ve seen true gratitude in our residents and officers during these events which is really great to be a part of
TAPinto: Being a LEO is a high stress job. What outside activities do you do to relax?
Torres: The job can certainly be stressful at times, but I’ve been fortunate to find a balance. Most importantly, I spend time with my family taking day trips, watching movies at home and even cooking together. I enjoy working in my garage. My son and I have been building custom cornhole boards since 2016 (@bluelineboards).
I coached soccer for years, but now I get to be a spectator which is a different experience. I still find myself yelling out some coaching tidbits!
TAPinto: As a police officer, you see it all. Tell us about your most exciting moment(s)
Torres: Early in my career, I was assigned to the Anti-Crimes Unit for two months in the summers of 2009 and 2010. My supervisors and partners were great, they taught me a lot since it was so early in my career. In 2010, through our investigations, we were able to execute several search warrants which was very exciting.
In 2010, I assisted in a homicide investigation where we apprehended the suspect within 24 hours of when the incident occurred. Just great to be part of that effort
TAPinto: Your most gratifying moment(s)?
Torres: I received two lifesaving awards, one in 2015 for performing CPR with other officers and paramedics which saved the life of a Red Bank resident. The other was in 2019; two other officers and I pulled a man from the Navesink after he fell off a boat. Both made full recoveries.
Getting hired by the Red Bank Police Department was very gratifying. When I entered the academy through the Alternate Route program, there was no guarantee of employment since I self-applied and wasn’t being sent by a Police Department. When I got the call, I was beyond excited
TAPinto: Other achievement(s) you’d like to share?
Torres: I recently completed the graduate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Masters of Administrative Sciences. What really makes this special is that I will be graduating the same week my daughter does
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