Who we are:The Hispanic Law Enforcement Society of Essex County (H.L.E.S.) is a not-for-profit community organization with a membership comprised of officers from the 22 Essex County municipalities. The H.L.E.S. is committed to serving the local communities of Essex County, promoting unity and improving the lives of residents, members and their families both locally and nationally.
How we started:Jesse Padilla and Raul Lopez founded The H.L.E.S. in 1971 and were joined by 15 members. The vision for the organization in the 70’s was to unite against discrimination in the police departments and offer support to the Hispanic officers receiving disparate treatment.
Where we are today:The H.L.E.S. currently has a membership of over 250 officers from Essex County, and is led by President, George Torres. Our members are highly committed to improving the lives of our residents, through community-focused events that address fighting hunger, education, and the prevention of violence. The H.L.E.S. established a storefront location for our headquarters in Newark, NJ in August 2015. We now have the privilege of providing our members and residents with a safe place to visit and seek assistance.
What we have accomplished locally:
*The distribution of over $70,000 in scholarships to high achieving, college bound students
*Various food drives which include the delivery of turkeys to families during the holiday seasons
*Clothing and toy drives
*Book bag and school supply drives
*Events to support the families of our fallen officers
*School visits to discuss with students bullying, safety and the prevention of violence
What we have accomplished Nationally:
*Book bag and school supply donations (Puerto Rico)
*Hurricane Maria relief efforts – including the collection of supplies, food and water to be shipped to the many families in Puerto Rico who are in need of help and support