A program involving law enforcement and local farmworkers continues to break barriers and build strong relationships.
Our Agua con la Chota, or “Water with a Cop” outreach program, established in 2017, provides local farmworkers a safe space to interact with our officers and receive information and guidance.
“We meet with them for three sessions,” said Watsonville Police Officer Marcos Rios. “The first two sessions are in plain clothes so they can become comfortable with us, and the third one is when we go in uniforms.”
Officer Rios is no stranger to working in the fields, as during his college years, he picked raspberries. He understands that farmworkers work long hours, which makes it difficult for them to access resources. “So, this is an event that we plan for them, and we go to them instead of them coming to us.”
The program has been well received over the years.
“I liked them since day one because they explained many things that sometimes you don't know or there is no one to tell you,” Eliasar Pacheco explained in Spanish. “It made us trust them, and we shouldn't be afraid of them.”
Agua con la Chota thrives thanks to our local and regional partners from the California Highway Patrol-Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, the Mexican Consulate of San José, the Santa Cruz County Probation Department, and Reiter Farms.