Police Officer Jessica Mendez is one of the Center Directors at the 25th District PAL Center. She was appointed to the Philadelphia Police Department in April 2003 and was assigned to PAL in 2016. Officer Mendez is a mother of two girls, and, in her spare time, she enjoys cooking, scrapbooking, biking, and event planning.
How did you first learn about PAL?
To be honest, I didn’t know about PAL until after I was appointed to the Police Department. I first learned about PAL after a few years of working third shift. I switched to days and found out about PAL when I started working day time hours. I didn’t grow up going to PAL and the fact there were PAL centers in my District intrigued me.
What made you want to be a part of the PAL Unit?
Off-duty, I am an active member of the community that I patrolled. I was always looking for programs and resources for youth in the community. I learned that, through PAL, I would be able to provide a safe place for kids to be kids while also bridging the gap between police and the community.
History with the Police Athletic League?
Since transferring to PAL in 2016, I spent time training both at the Harrowgate and Lighthouse PAL Centers, and I am currently a Center Director at the newly-opened 25th District PAL.
Why do you think proactive community policing measures like PAL are so important?
Community policing measures, like PAL, are so vital to building better communities and stronger neighborhoods. When the community – specifically kids – and the police can have meaningful and positive interactions, it allows for a trust to develop and allows us to see one another as people who care for one another.
What is one thing you want every child to know?
The one thing I would like all kids to know is a quote from Lucille Ball, “Learn to love yourself first, then everything falls into place.”
What kind of impact do you want to have on a child’s life?
At the end of the day, I hope that our PAL kids know that they matter. I’m not here to judge them, but to love on them. I want to be able to equip them with the tools they need to help them achieve their goals.
Did you have a mentor who made an impact on you? Tell us about it.
I am blessed to have had many people in my life who corrected me when I needed to be corrected, who listened when I needed them to listen, and who encouraged me when I needed to be encouraged.
What programs do you offer at your center? What programs are unique to your center?
25th District PAL currently offers a Music and Arts Program which features Choir and Drumline. That is unique to our center. We also offer Positive Action, Positive Images, and Boys to Men mentoring programs, along with handball, Homework and Computer Clubs, and College and Career Readiness prep.
Favorite activity at PAL?
The Positive Images Girls Mentoring Program is my favorite program.