SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — At age 19, Emily Quinones reluctantly moved with her family from Puerto Rico, to cold, snowy Syracuse. She was leaving friends and warm memories behind.
“The majority of my family was still there, it was a little hard for me, at the time to adapt to this new culture, new pretty much everything,” Quinones said.
Everything was new, and Syracuse was a culture shock. Her life would soon take another dramatic turn, when a friend encouraged her to take the civil service exam.
“I took the test, passed, and pretty much the rest is history,” said Quinones.
Quinones would go on to help shape Syracuse Police Department history, as one of few hispanic women on the Syracuse police force, quickly becoming the go-to officer when language became a barrier, especially in high stress scenarios. She quickly gained trust and respect from the people living in western Syracuse where she worked.
“Just by seeing, looking at me, they could tell that I was either Puerto Rican, or they could try and maybe guess and think that I was maybe dominican or something, but they knew that I was hispanic, just with that alone, they felt a little more comfortable, and they felt better,” she said.
Quinones became a familiar face. On her beat, and beyond. She could be seen standing strong and proud in a police recruitment video that even aired during the superbowl. There were posters and billboards too.
She also has a goal to take any opportunity to break the juvenile-detention-to-prison pipeline, to make a difference for young people in the community.