New York's Finest headline successful Hispanic band 'La Jara'
It's Hispanic Heritage Month and News 12 is highlighting members of New York's finest who are sharing their love for music with the world.
The NYPD's Hispanic band is bringing people together with music while also working to bridge the gap between police and the community. From jamming out at 1 Police Plaza to performing live at the Bronx summer concert series in Orchard Beach, the La Jara band draws crowds of people who come to see them play everything from bachata to merengue and more.
"I think music brings people together. When I see how influential this band could be, I want more, and the community wants more. We want to continue to serve through the power of music," says Lt. Steven Bhagan.
But they're not your average band.
La Jara, which was named after the Spanish nickname for police, is a Hispanic band made up of 17 NYPD members who sing and play a number of instruments.
After a short stint in the 80s with just a few members, the group was brought back to life in 2013 by Capt. Alexander Cedillo.
"I noticed that the department needed a band that would represent the Hispanic side of the community, so I decided to form it, but I did not know it was going to be this successful," says Cap. Cedillo.
The group has seen much success, gaining fans from all over the world and even becoming so popular that they reached more than 130,000 followers on Facebook.
The group says as they continue bringing their music to venues across the country, they're hoping to connect with the communities they serve through music.
"We see the comments that people leave us on Facebook, on Instagram, throughout all social media," says Officer Christian Guity. "People that are seeing the police department in a new light and is shining hope that we can definitely rebuild the image that people have of the police."
As they look to rebuild that image, the group is hoping to continue growing while also inspiring the youth in the community.