2020 Village Awardee: Jaime Hernandez
Each year, Village Preservation honors the invaluable people, businesses, and organizations that make a special contribution to our neighborhoods at our Annual Meeting and Village Awards. This year, on June 17th, 2020 we will be celebrating nine outstanding awardees — RSVP here to participate virtually.
Community Affairs Officer Detective Jaime Hernandez of the 9th Precinct has spent 31 years building relationships of trust and mutual respect with the East Village’s diverse and sometimes contentious communities. At a time when society is taking a hard look at our police and criminal justice system, Jaime has built a highly regarded reputation throughout his career as someone who builds bridges, listens, and works closely and collaboratively with the communities he serves.
In 2017, Jaime received the first Keeper of the Peace award presented by the Middle Collegiate Church on 2nd Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets. Church leader Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis said “There’s no way we can heal what’s broken in America between police and civilians without collaborating. The warm relationship we have with him helps warm the relationship with all the precinct.” Jaime has been a finalist for a Village Award for several years now, but he always had other commitments and been unable to accept, including one year he missed because he had just donated a kidney to his daughter.
He also received one of first LES Community Heroes Awards when nominated by Council Member Rosie Mendez in 2014. Detective Hernandez is always a visible and welcome presence at the events that make the East Village such a great neighborhood, keeping everyone safe, from small block parties to Wigstock, concerts to church processions, protests and celebrations. Through 9/11, Sandy, the Second Avenue Gas Explosion, and other tragedies and emergencies, Detective Hernandez has been here to support the community.
He has represented stability and continuity for the 9th Precinct. For the residents of the East Village who have gone through some very tough times over the decades, the value of that attribute is significant and cannot be overstated. Detective Hernandez has worked behind the scenes with community representatives on issues with finesse, and he has proven to be a calming presence in whatever he does. He knows the neighborhood and the full spectrum of its leaders, residents, and characters.
He mediates disputes when necessary in a calm and caring manner, and is always available to listen and lend a hand, even on his days off. According to Marilyn Appleberg, founder and president of the 10th and Stuyvesant Streets Block Association, who has worked with the police for most of the 48 years that she has lived in the East Village: “without equivocation, the East Village is now a better place to live due in large part to the hard work and dedication of Detective Hernandez. “ Detective Hernandez’s calm demeanor belies his strength, resiliency, and deep knowledge of the neighborhood and serves him and us well. He is always polite, always patient, and always available to hear our concerns and to find a solution.