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Officer Augusto Diaz Brings Passion for People to Hopkinton PD

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Officer Augusto Diaz of Hopkinton Police Department

On Tuesday, December 6, Officer Augusto Diaz was introduced as the newest member of the Hopkinton Police Department. Since joining, Diaz has been accompanying Officer Cody Normandin, who is a certified Field Training Officer. With Chief Joe Bennett and Normandin at his side, Diaz sat down with HopNews to introduce himself, and to share why he is so passionate about police work.

Where were you born? I was born in Manhattan, and lived there until around the age of eight. My mom was a single mom, and she and my older brother and sister moved to Worcester, but I stayed behind with my grandmother and my aunt. They kept an eye on me and kept me out of trouble. It was the Upper West Side, so I was very fortunate to grow up in a nice area.

But then you moved to Worcester? Yes, when I was eight I moved to Worcester and finished school there. But I still went back to New York on the weekends and every summer and I would stay with my grandmother. So I am a city kid, and I had friends all over, in the Bronx and Queens.

When did you decide to become a police officer? I always loved working with the public. When I was younger, I worked two jobs, one selling cell phones for AT&T and I was also a substitute teacher for Worcester North, which was where I went to high school. Right after high school I started coaching football there and I did that for a few years while I was attending Worcester State University. I just tried to mentor as many students as I could. I love working with kids.

Where did you work prior to joining Hopkinton PD? I was a campus police officer at UMass Medical School for two years.

When you think about the policing that you did at UMass, and the policing you’ll do here, what do you like most about your job? Definitely interacting with the public. I’m a people person – I love being around people and helping people. I gravitated toward the PD unit that worked with children. I always kept a pocket full of UMass stickers to hand out to the kids. Unfortunately, we did get a lot of behavioral health calls from the unit, but because of my years of experience working with schools, kids, and families I was often able to de-escalate situations. I’d just talk one-on-one with the kids, not as a police officer, but as a person.

How do you describe your approach to policing? I try to be a good person, and to show up as a person and not as a police officer. I think the key is empathy, and meeting people where they are. And this is difficult sometimes, because we get called into very intense situations and our focus has to be on keeping people safe. I also think it’s important to remember that we have to be attentive to every call. What might not seem like an emergency to everyone IS an emergency to the caller, so I try to make sure I give them 100% of my attention and effort.

What are some of the techniques you’ve used in the past to build relationships in the community? Again, it comes back to empathy. Working in the city, and at UMass, I saw a lot of the same things that I saw growing up in the community. Sometimes we’d have kids at UMass for 30, maybe 60 days, who were waiting to see what was going to happen to them … like was DCF going to take them, or something like that. So I could relate to those kids because I was one of those kids. Single mother, working multiple jobs, running to the bus stop in the morning, trying to get to school, trying to stay out of trouble. I saw a lot growing up in the city, so I’m very familiar with the things that can affect some individuals. There can be real trauma there. If there isn’t the love and discipline at home, you can get on the wrong path easily. I’m a very open person, and I try to really listen to people and relate to them where they are.

What attracted you to Hopkinton, and what makes it different from other police departments you interviewed for? (Motioning to Chief Bennett) As the Chief knows, when I looked at other departments, I read their strategic plans. And what I saw in Hopkinton’s plan was a lot of focus on the schools, because that’s what the community was asking for. They want us to focus on the young people in town. I love working with families and youth, and to be a part of their development, because that’s my background. So it was a great fit for me.

What is the most important thing for people in Hopkinton to know about you? The biggest thing to know is that I love people. I’m here for the town of Hopkinton, the kids, families and schools. What I love about policing is that you’re not at a desk. I’m out in the community and I see people I know and that know me. It’s great.

Why do they call you Goose? (Laughing) Well, it started with my brother. It was too hard for people to pronounce “Augusto”, so he decided everyone should call me “Goose” instead.

Diaz and wife Maureen

What’s one thing you can’t live without? My wife and my family. I’ve been through more than your average 31 year old. Every day I wake up is a blessing. Maureen and I have been together since we were 16 years old, and we married two years ago. She’s the reason for everything.

Outside of work, what do you do for fun? I love hanging out with my family. I also do Jujitsu; my brother in-law teaches, and I like to stay active.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you reach the pearly gates? You did what I asked you to do.

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