What does a coupon for free ice cream have to do with keeping our streets safe? Police Officer Claudia Delgado will tell you everything! Officer Delgado is the Community Liaison officer for the 2nd Precinct in Huntington. Every precinct in Suffolk County has a Community Liaison officer that is dedicated to working with and building relationships in the community. After all, quality police work isn’t just about catching the bad guys; it’s also about supporting our community members, children, families and seniors—and for Officer Delgado, that’s all in a day’s work!

Officer Delgado has been the 2nd Precinct’s liaison to the Huntington community since inception of the program in April, 2014. Claudia knows her role as an officer, mentor, resource and friend to the children and community with whom she interacts is significant and personally rewarding. Prior to her current assignment, she was a cop on patrol in the 2nd Precinct. She recalled that she was happy then but today, she has her dream job. I laughed when she said that she used to give out tickets, but now she gives out coupons for free ice cream!

Officer Delgado works with School Resource Officer (SRO) Drew Fiorillo. They partner to spend days in the hallways and classrooms of the Huntington and South Huntington schools to build relationships with the children as well as the teachers. As a young child born to hard­-working parents from Columbia (each parent worked two jobs), Officer Delgado did not speak English until she went to public school. When she tells young children who are struggling in their ESL (English as a Second Language) class that she only spoke Spanish until she was five years old, their faces light up; they feel encouraged and hopeful that they, too, can excel in school and in life as she has.

Officer Delgado and Officer Fiorillo often address groups of children in both Spanish and English. They organize and present  “Vamos A Hablar” or “Let’s Talk” events with the Huntington community at St. Hugh of Lincoln Church, South Huntington School District, Light Of Salvation Church and for the United Way YouthBuild program. With fellow COPE Officer Iadevaio, they interact with the young adults in the programs and make presentations of resources available to the community, their rights and explanations of SCPD procedures. “The satisfaction of interacting and impacting the lives of young children, teens and their families could not be more gratifying,” said Officer Delgado. Furthermore, she said “the support we get from the Department enables us to do everything we can for the children and the community. I am so proud to be a Suffolk County Police Officer.”

It is important to mention that the Department is committed to helping educate the community. Officer Delgado and Officer Fiorillo attended a camp offered at Fountain Head Church and talked with the children about stranger danger and car and bike safety. They also partnered with the EAC Network to educate, install and distribute booster and car seats to those in need. Most recently, they have been providing Narcan Training, organizing drug awareness and education programs at Huntington Hospital, The Huntington Cinema Arts Center, and the South Huntington Library. The Suffolk County Police Department’s EMT Academy staff has trained hundreds of community members in Narcan use and distributed home drug testing kits provided by the Suffolk County PBA for the attendees to take home.

Partnerships and events enable us to engage with the kids and young adults in Huntington and, more importantly, bridge the gap between the police department and the community. This is the best job in the world.”

IMG951547 IMG951545_1Our community, corporate partners and sponsors help to make programs possible, and most of them are involved with each of the seven precincts!” Each precinct organizes and holds so many events, it would be impossible to list them all. One recent event in the 2nd precinct was a basketball clinic and game between youths in the community and 2nd Precinct officers. Over 200 children participated in this event, and a BBQ followed. Other events organized by Community Liaison Officers include taking children from Tri Community Youth Agency, Project Excel and other Huntington programs on multiple fishing trips, where the children caught fish, ate lunch and had snacks on a boat in the Great South Bay (thank you, Captree State Park and PAL, for sponsoring these outings). Officer Delgado was also able to take 50 children from Tri CYA and Huntington Station to see the Mets play baseball at Citi Field. Another community trip was made to the Barclay Center, where the children actually got to play basketball on the court and see the Nets play, too. While these may all sound like simple day-trips with children, the relationships built between the children and the officers set the foundation for the rest of their lives – building trust and confidence and seeing an opportunity for their own future.

And the programs are not just for the children; we would be remiss not to mention the work they do with the Senior Center and the success of the annual turkey drives and giveaways during the holiday season. This is another great partnership with local business owner Andre Sorrentino, who generously donated over 500 turkeys and hams to be distributed during the year. Target has also been a great sponsor of events such as National Night Out and is partnering with multiple agencies to provide a fun-filled night with entertainment, food, gifts and raffles for families and the entire community. Over 500 community members attended the last one. Target also sponsors “Shop with a Cop,” where officers take underprivileged youths, hand in hand, shopping for holiday gifts. “It is sobering and so touching how often these children ask to buy something that the family needs, such as diapers or snacks. We tell them that they can buy the diapers, snacks AND a toy for themselves, too.”

I get emotional when I talk about my relationship with the children and families in this community. I may not have children of my own (yet), but I feel that I have many children here in Huntington. I am invested in their happiness, success and safety.”

IMG951540I learned something new today: Our Suffolk County Police Officers not only keep us safe and secure, but every day, they support our community members, children, families and seniors by engaging and working to enrich the quality of their lives in every way possible. The SCPD is becoming the steadfast heart and soul of the Huntington Community.

I work 24/7, and giving back to the people in this community is the most meaningful part of it all.”

Thank you, Officer Delgado and all the Community Liaisons, for not only keeping us safe and secure, but for working to keep our communities, families, and children on the right track to growing stronger and stronger.

In our final minutes together, Officer Delgado shared this: “As a young girl, we moved often. I wanted to feel a permanent sense of belonging, so as soon as I could, I bought a house in Suffolk County.” Officer Delgado owns her home, is working her dream job, and is making a difference in many people’s lives every single day.