March 26, 2019
Latest News
Entertainment

Chris Reza, the mariachi policeman

 Chris Reza is known in Boyle Heights as the

Chris Reza is known in Boyle Heights as the "mariachi policeman." Reza, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, told EFE on March 13, 2019, that he uses music to "break the ice" with the public and to strengthen community relations. "The idea is to humanize the badge," Reza told EFE in Mariachi Plaza, located just a short distance from his workplace and where he has performed with his band - Mariachi Los Servidores - made up of police officers from Southern California. EFE-EPA/ Eugene Garcia

Los Angeles, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- Chris Reza is known in Boyle Heights as the "mariachi policeman."

Reza, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, uses music to "break the ice" with the public and to strengthen community relations.

"The idea is to humanize the badge," Reza told EFE in Mariachi Plaza, located just a short distance from his workplace and where he has performed with his band - Mariachi Los Servidores - made up of police officers from Southern California.

There, among the murals depicting aspects of Mexican heritage and a statue dedicated to singer Lucha Reyes, Reza shows up in his dark blue police uniform and sings several songs in the traditional "charro" style for the crowd, who don't hesitate to congratulate him.

"The people see something and they come up to talk with you. They feel that we're part of the community. They don't see a police officer singing in broad daylight every day. It breaks down the barrier between the police and the public. It breaks the ice that's linked with the uniform," he said.

Reza and his group's next performance will be on Sunday at the Downey Theatre, where they will offer a concert of "ranchero" music called "Violins, not Violence," the aim of which is to collect money to buy musical instruments that will be donated to the music departments of several schools.

"I think that bringing music to kids is a necessity. It allows them to get away from the gangs and the weapons. I have friends who tell me that if they weren't mariachis, they'd be dead or in jail," Reza said.

"When the kids see us perform, you can tell that they haven't had that kind of interaction with police officers. They used to look at us in another way. And if we can help them to choose a good path to follow in life, why wouldn't you do that?" he asked.

Reza arrives at the Hollenbeck police station at 6 every morning and there he takes care of leftover work from the night shift, prepares reports, talks with victims in the cases he's handling, contacts the district attorneys....

He is tasked, in particular, with investigating crimes against property: thefts, assaults, robberies, vandalism and vehicle thefts. He's been doing the work for 19 years.

But music is his real passion and he has never been able to hide it.

"I grew up listening to mariachi music. My mother was a singer at parties and weddings and she inculcated that love (of music) in me. I continued along her path, first a little bit in the shadows and later while I went to class to become a police officer. There were highs and lows, but it's difficult to give up something when you love it so much," Reza said.

He began his musical career organizing small public performances featuring the traditional mariachi "charro" outfit.

Soon, however, his colleagues noted his hobby and asked him to get involved in community activities.

One of those events came at the request of a family whose mother had a terminal disease, and they wanted him to organize the "Quinceañera" - or 15-year-old coming out party - for her daughter, who was paralyzed.

"At first, I didn't want to mix my work with my passion. That was something strange for people, but now it's not so strange thanks to the community work we do. Now, I sing in my police uniform, but it came out naturally at that (party)," Reza said.

"It was a small event with a big police presence. We were all in uniform and so I decided to sing ... I got very positive comments from the family and members of the community. They were very grateful and thought that it was a very positive thing. It was good to incorporate the idea of having many objectives in life and not giving up on your dreams," he said.

After the success of his performance, which got great play on the social networks in November 2017, Reza decided to create the Mariachi Los Servidores with colleagues from other police stations.

"It wasn't always like this, but now I feel very comfortable as a police officer who sings mariachi. Each time I feel a little more natural" in that role," he said.

News history
Dominican capital opens new seaside promenade on Caribbean

Santo Domingo, Mar 26 (epa-efe).- The city of Santo Domingo has put at the disposal of its citizens several public spaces designated for their...

Artists revamp Prague's John Lennon Wall

Prague, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- A wall in the Czech capital that has for almost half a century drawn urban artists to use it as a canvas to spread political...

Art sleuth finds long-lost Picasso in Amsterdam

By Imane Rachidi

Heaps of praise throughout world for New Zealand PM's leadership after attack

By Rocio Otoya

Charles, Camilla tour Old Havana

Havana, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, toured Old Havana on Monday, strolling through the city...

Spain's king, queen begin Argentina state visit with tribute to San Martin

Buenos Aires, Mar 25 (epa-efe).- Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia began their first state visit to Argentina on Monday with a message of total...

Spain's king, queen begin Argentina state visit with tribute to San Martin

Buenos Aires, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia began their first state visit to Argentina this Monday with a floral offering at...

Animal rights activists comfort hogs headed for L.A. slaughterhouse

Los Angeles, Mar 25 (epa-efe).- At the southern gate of the Clougherty Packing Company meat processing plant, known as Farmer John Los Angeles, an altar...

Tate Britain show explores lasting impact of UK culture on Van Gogh

London, Mar 25 (efe-epa).- An exhibition that explores Vincent van Gogh's relationship with British culture, his influences and how he later left his stamp...

Mexicans raise a glass to breaking world record for largest tequila tasting

Guadalajara (Mexico), Mar 25 (efe-epa).- Mexicans broke the Guinness World Record for the largest tequila tasting in the world in the city where it was...

Surfers seek perfect waves where Amazon meets Atlantic in Brazil

Sao Domingos do Capim, Brazil, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- Scores of surfers and thousands of tourists converge each year on Brazil's Para state to enjoy the...

Secret lives of mummies: Science unravels all at Egypt exhibit in Turin

By Gonzalo Sánchez

Bolivians lay claim to treasure aboard sunken Spanish galleon

La Paz, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- The dispute between Colombia and Spain over the $17 billion in gold and silver believed to be aboard a Spanish galleon that was...

From F1 racer to music producer, Alguersuari tells his story

By Gines Muñoz

Artist carves volcanic rock into miniatures of iconic buildings

Quito, Mar 22 (epa-efe).- Jaime Puetate uses rock from the slopes of Cotopaxi volcano, which towers 5,897m (19,347ft) above the landscape, to craft...

Ibero-American cinema has strong, authentic voice, Mexican actress says

Los Angeles, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- A Mexican actress who helped announce the nominees for this year's edition of the Platino Awards said in an interview with...

Makers of Wallace and Gromit bring behind-the-scenes action to Portugal

Cynthia de Benito

Asian cultural extravaganza set to wow Brazil's Rock in Rio festival-goers

Sao Paolo, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- The Brazilian music festival Rock in Rio this year will put the spotlight on Asia by showcasing musicians, dancers and...

Trump Hotel correspondent, new journalistic job in Washington

Washington, Mar 21 (efe-epa).- The Trump International Hotel in Washington isn't just any hotel. Things happen there that might pass unnoticed in the...

"Roma" receives 9 Platino Prize nominations

Los Angeles, March 21 (EFE).- Award-winning Mexican film "Roma" stands out as the favorite among the nominees at the sixth edition of the Platino Prizes of...

Sanctions bite into Iran's Nowruz celebrations

By Marina Villén

Anne Imhof's "Sex" performance previews at Tate Modern in London

London, Mar 21 (efe-epa).- German artist Anne Imhof on Thursday previewed "Sex," the first chapter of a live performance art trilogy commissioned by the...

The guitolão: a rare Portuguese string instrument of which only 3 exist

By Carlos García

'Soul of a Nation' black art exhibit at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, USA, Mar 20 (efe-epa).- The cultural legacy left behind by the protests and demands of "black power" is the protagonist of "Soul of a Nation",...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.