Darrell Cortez retired more than a decade ago from the San Jose Police Department, so he isn’t fighting crime in the streets anymore. But he is working on preventing crime before it starts — by investing in children’s education.
Since 2007, Cortez and his wife, Alicia, have operated the Shop with a Cop Foundation, which supports language arts-based education in six San Jose schools. The foundation is best known for its namesake December event at which students who perform well in the Readers Are Leaders Campaign are rewarded with a big shopping trip to purchase holiday gifts for their families.
The event’s goal is twofold — humanize the person behind the badge and instill a love of reading and learning in the community’s underserved children.
The mission of educating children sits close to Cortez’s heart.
“We spend more money to incarcerate somebody than we spend to educate a kid in California,” Cortez told San José Spotlight recently. “It’s sad.”
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