Born in the Dominican Republic, Yanvier Morel ’23 grew up in public housing in the South Bronx. “I’m the first generation to go to college,” he says. “There was a time when my mother and I were in line at church to get free food. I want to bring a degree into my house and say, ‘Mom, this is what your son did.’”
Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?
YM: Professor Alden Foster asked our class if anyone lived in my neighborhood. I shyly raised my hand. After class, he told me that the NYPD wanted to build relationships with people from my neighborhood. Professor Foster prepared me for my first meeting with former NYPD Police Commissioner O’Neill (James O’Neill ’88, ’93) and made sure that I applied for an NYPD internship. I took the test to become a police officer and within a month of my internship, they called me and said, “You’re going to the Academy.”
What was your best day on the job?
YM: The best day was when my mother saw me in my uniform for the first time and started crying. My mother left the Dominican Republic with aspirations of giving us an education. My family left everything behind—their culture, language, family, everything. I just want to be able to say, “All of your hard work paid off.”