York City Police Officer Alex Nova (Photo by Caleb Robertson/Our York Media)

Alex Nova: Someone to look up to

York City Police Officer Alex Nova grew up in a rough Miami neighborhood. He identifies with the struggle many have of getting out of those neighborhoods and being successful.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Alex Nova (Photo by Caleb Robertson/Our York Media)

York City Police Officer Alex Nova sees a lot of himself in the children he coaches as an assistant baseball coach at York High.

He grew up in West Perrine, a rough neighborhood of Miami, and used sports as a way to stay out of trouble.

“It’s easy to relate to a problem when you live in it,” he says. “I’m trying to break the cycle. I tell these young guys that I don’t want an excuse.”

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Alex keeps a letter from his cousin Raphael with him. The pair grew up in the same home and were more like brothers than cousins. Raphael was just a little older, but Alex looked up to him.

As they got older, Alex knew he wanted a career in law enforcement. Raphael, though, went the other way and got caught up in the gang lifestyle. In 2008, as Alex was preparing for the Air Force, Raphael was incarcerated.

We’re not just patrolling the streets. We come here to hang out and live here, too.

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Alex Nova

Last year, Alex received a letter from Raphael from jail. The two were dealt the same cards, Raphael wrote, but Alex hit the books instead of the streets. Raphael said he was proud of how far his cousin has gone.

“You’ve always looked up to me, but I look up to you right now,” the letter says.

“I always keep that letter with me because I feel like he’s always there,” Alex says. “Any time I think things are going bad, I know it could be way worse.”

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Alex joined the York City Police Department in 2018 and has since patrolled across the city.

While he’s only been on the force for a short amount of time, he strives to break down the stigma of police officers in the community.

He finds his most rewarding work walking around the projects and talking to the community. He hopes to coordinate future sporting events – like flag football or basketball tournaments – between the police and the community to help improve relations.

“I understand how people don’t want to engage with police, but I want to change that,” Alex says. “We’re here for the community. We’re not just patrolling the streets. We come here to hang out and live here, too.”

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