Richmond officer 'Bridging the Gap' by helping felons land jobs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond Police Officer is fed up with locking up the same people. Officer Rey Perez is volunteering his time and using his own money to help felons find a job.

Jeffrey Perry spent 18 years behind bars. He was happy to be released from jail back in August.

"But the problem was I still can't get work," said Perry.

He decided to go to the Mosby Court management office for a unique job placement program. It is called Bridging the Gap One Human at Time, and it's hosted by Richmond Officer Rey Perez

"Since being in Bridging the Gap, and thanks to God," said Perry. "Perez has found me a job. It established my life. I wanted a job more than anything. I cried. It touched me a lot."

Officer Perez hosts the six week program. He volunteers his time two days a week for a few hours. He even offers to transport participants in his patrol car.

"This is not to get information on anybody," said Officer Perez. "This is not to make arrests. There is a lot more to policing than just arresting people. This is the serve part of protect and serve."

Officer Perez's program offers invaluable sessions like mock job interviews.

"It's essential," said Perry. "It's necessary."

Officer Perez says it is all very rewarding.

"I get paid through blessings, and when someone calls me and says you won't believe it, and they are yelling and they are excited," said Perez. "I got the job! It's a beautiful feeling."

Some of the students like, Mona J, are even producing their own music. The tunes are meant to encourage participants to never give up.

Officer Perez is also looking for other businesses who might be willing to partner with the program. You can reach Officer Perez at 610-751-5243.

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