Mamaroneck Latino Police Officer Promoted After ‘Long Struggle’

Sgt. José Gomérez (far left), at his swearing-in ceremony, which was led by Mayor Tom Murphy. The officer’s father, Luis Gomérez, came from the Dominican Republic to attend the event. His mother Mercedes Gomérez and his 11 siblings were there as well. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

Police officer José Gomérez, originally from the Dominican Republic, was recently promoted to sergeant and is extremely proud of his triumph.

It is the result of a long struggle, as he was repeatedly denied a promotion after passing the sergeant’s exam even though he met and even exceeded the requirements. He fought this decision for years, having gone as far as filing a complaint in court.

This time around, however, his promotion came through a routine process the Village of Mamaroneck carries out when vacancies come up, said the sergeant. Two police sergeants in the department retired this year.

“I was interviewed along with four other candidates for the two positions available, and I was chosen first out of the four,” said Gomérez, 46.

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“I think they saw the need to appoint someone who is capable of communicating with the Hispanic community, and I think I can do the job of supporting the relationship between the police, Hispanics and the community,” said Sgt. Gomérez. The large audience attending his swearing-in ceremony – held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and led by Mayor Tom Murphy – welcomed him with applause.

The Hispanic officer has been fighting for a fair promotion for two years, after he was denied three times. (…)

Gomérez, born and raised in the Dominican Republic, arrived in New York when he was 20 and started out working in the city’s bodegas. He later enrolled in CUNY’s City College, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in computers and multimedia. He entered the New York City Police Department as a cadet in 1997.

In 1999, Gomérez was promoted to police officer and, five years later, he was transferred to the New York City Training Bureau. In 2008, he was tested in Westchester County and was assigned to the Village of Mamaroneck Police Department.

After working there for almost eight years, he took the sergeant’s exam in September 2016 and obtained the highest score. With these results in hand, he applied for the sergeant position available in Mamaroneck, but was rejected on three occasions.

The officer went on to file a civil rights lawsuit in federal court, alleging that he was denied the promotion because of his race, skin color and accent. His first promotion request was denied in 2017.

Gomérez lives in the Village of Mamaroneck with his wife and three children. He is active in the community, giving talks at the Community Resource Center and for Alcoholics Anonymous in New Rochelle and Port Chester.

His case is still pending in federal court and the legal process remains active, according to Sgt. Gomérez.

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