Hector Tavarez, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd District, was born in Hammonton, grew up Mullica Township and has lived in South Jersey his entire life as part of a large and proud American family with Hispanic heritage. It’s here in South Jersey that his wife of 32 years, Denise, and he have raised their three incredible children and have been blessed with two amazing granddaughters. Hector is a retired Egg Harbor Township police captain having spent an entire career serving the community.
Hector grew up in a large 9-person family with his parents, 4 sisters, 2 brothers who all lived in a small house with just one tiny bathroom. Hector’s parents still live in his childhood home.
Hector attended Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing and is a member of its Athletic Hall of Fame. He graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Atlantic Cape Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Richard Stockton University. He also graduated from the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police West Point Command & Leadership program and was certified by the State of New Jersey as a Certified Public Manager.
Hector was hired by the Egg Harbor Township Police department in 1986 at the age of 20. From the very beginning he was a community-oriented police officer, meaning, he’d preferred to proactively serve our community, recognize problems and prevent crime rather than have to solve a crime. Hector chose to become a police officer because he wanted to help people in ways he had been helped.
In 1989, Hector, along with 5 other officers from the Egg Harbor Township Police Department started the Egg Harbor Township Police Athletic League (EHTPAL). Their goal was to improve the relationship between the youth in their community and their police officers. They could not think of a better way, than to help provide activities for children and be involved in their lives. They worked out of their police cars with small activities such as movies and basketball. They made a difference and 32 years later, PAL continues to make a difference.
After 25 years of service, in 2011, Hector retired as a Captain. Today, he proudly continues to serve as the Executive Director of PAL, now called the Police Activities League of Egg Harbor Township and Atlantic County to better reflect their growth and the community they serve. The organization has over 21,000 square feet of recreational buildings on 35 acres, currently serving about 800 children from throughout South Jersey. PAL offers many programs that include STEM, robotics, an off-highway vehicle trails park, laser tag, before and after school care, and a variety of summer camp programs. Hector and the organization are currently constructing a 24,000 square foot athletic arena that will bring a variety of arena sports programs to the region. The Police Activities League of EHT and Atlantic County is one of the largest PALs in the country, not being funded and paid for by tax dollars, but working with government, the business community and citizens to improve our communities.