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Carmen Santana

Founder & Executive Director

(510) 374-0522

Carmen Santana's story is one of resilience, determination, and a deep commitment to serving her community. As a first-generation Mexican American, Carmen faced the challenges that often accompany growing up in a low-income household. However, she defied the odds and became the first in her family to attend college and pursue a professional career.

Carmen's educational journey led her to earn an Associate in Science Degree in Administration of Justice and an Associate in Liberal Arts Degree. These qualifications equipped her with the necessary knowledge and foundation to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Her involvement with the Richmond Police Explorer program started during her teenage years when she was a participant herself. This experience ignited Carmen's passion for public service and laid the groundwork for her future career. Eventually, she became the coordinator of the program, where she made significant contributions to its development and success.

In 2013, Carmen's dedication and hard work paid off when she was sworn in as a Richmond Police officer. Over the next decade, she served her community in various capacities, including patrol, the foot and bicycle housing patrol unit known as the BRAVO team, and as a school resource officer in local high schools and middle schools. Carmen's ability to engage, communicate, and serve those in need stemmed from her genuine desire to help people, a trait that became her driving force.

Having personally experienced financial struggles and a lack of support, Carmen developed a deep empathy for those facing similar challenges. This fueled her determination to make a difference in her community. As a testament to her commitment, Carmen established the "Strive for Success" scholarship award through the Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL). This award aimed to support underprivileged youth in Richmond who aspired to pursue public safety careers and serve their community. Through this initiative, Carmen helped over fifty students graduate high school, attend college, join the military, and find fulfilling careers.

In recognition of her tireless efforts in crime prevention through RPAL, Carmen received the Richmond Police Officer award in 2018. This accolade highlighted her dedication and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.

Driven by her own personal struggles, Carmen was motivated to establish an organization that would provide support, guidance, and mentorship to youth in her community. Recognizing the importance of addressing not only their career goals but also their spiritual and personal needs, Carmen's organization aims to empower young individuals as they discover their purpose in life.

Carmen Santana's inspiring journey showcases her dedication to breaking barriers, serving her community, and empowering the next generation. Her story serves as a powerful example of how individuals can overcome challenges and create lasting change in their communities.

Retired Deputy Police Chief Ed Medina's career in law enforcement is marked by his dedicated service and commitment to his community. Before joining the Richmond Police Department, Ed served as a United States Marine for 5 ½ years, stationed at Camp Pendleton and overseas, where he received an honorable discharge in 1987.

Ed began his law enforcement career as a young patrolman with the Richmond Police Department. Throughout his 27 years with the department, he took on various assignments and rose through the ranks. He gained valuable experience as a Field Evidence Technician, Field Training Officer, Community Police Officer, and Detective, where he was recognized as Detective of the Year in 1997. Ed's dedication and expertise were evident in his work.

One of the highlights of Ed's career was his role as the Recruit Training Officer for the Napa Police Academy. In this position, he had the privilege of nurturing and mentoring 33 young cadets, assisting them in realizing their dreams of becoming police officers. Ed's commitment to guiding and supporting aspiring law enforcement professionals left a lasting impact on those he mentored.

Ed's dedication and leadership qualities led to promotions within the department. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2000 and later to Lieutenant in 2004. Throughout these advancements, Ed continued to serve in various assignments, further enhancing his skills and knowledge. In May 2006, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of Police, becoming second in command of the 300-person agency. In this role, Ed played a crucial role in overseeing operations and serving the Richmond community.

Ed's commitment to professional development is evident through his participation in prestigious training programs. He is an honored graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) held at Boston University, which provided him with valuable insights and skills in police management. Additionally, he achieved an advanced executive certificate with California POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training), highlighting his commitment to continuous learning and excellence in his field. Ed was also an active member of the California Police Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), where he contributed to the advancement of law enforcement practices.

Outside of his law enforcement career, Ed dedicated his time and expertise to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He graduated from the Advanced Leadership University, a program sponsored by the organization, and served as Vice President of the Board for the West Contra Costa Salesian Boys & Girls Club in Richmond. Through his involvement, Ed made a positive impact on the lives of young individuals, providing guidance and support beyond his law enforcement responsibilities.

Retired Deputy Police Chief Ed Medina's extensive experience, leadership, and commitment to his community have left a lasting legacy within the Richmond Police Department. His dedication to mentoring, professional development, and community service is a testament to his unwavering commitment to public safety and the well-being of others.


Edwin Medina

Director of Operations

     (707) 342-3965

Ray Hernandez's journey exemplifies his unwavering dedication to serving his community and empowering the next generation. As a first-generation Mexican American, Ray grew up in Berkeley, California, and developed a strong sense of purpose and responsibility towards his community.

Ray's career spans over 20 years with the Richmond Police Department, where he has made a significant impact. As a corporal, he played a pivotal role in training, preparing, and mentoring new police recruits, both during their time at the police academy and throughout their training program. His expertise and guidance have contributed to the development of skilled and competent police officers.

In 2009, Ray took the initiative to organize and revitalize the youth police explorer program. For over a decade, he served as the program coordinator, investing his time and energy to provide guidance, support, and mentorship to the participating youths. Ray's commitment and dedication to the program were recognized in 2016 when he received the Richmond Police Explorer Advisor Award, acknowledging his exceptional service to the explorer program.

Throughout his tenure as the coordinator, Ray had a profound impact on the lives of countless young individuals. His efforts helped hundreds of youths graduate high school, pursue higher education, and obtain careers in various fields, including the medical field, first responders, and law, among others. By focusing on mentoring, educating, and empowering minority youth, Ray actively worked towards creating opportunities for underrepresented individuals in his community.

Ray's deep-rooted faith and family values have also led him to become a minister at a local church. Through his role as a minister, he continues to provide support and assistance to the surrounding community, extending his dedication beyond law enforcement. Ray's passion for serving others, combined with his commitment and unwavering dedication, has earned him a high level of respect, trust, and support from the community he serves.

Ray Hernandez's story is a testament to his remarkable contributions to law enforcement, mentorship, and community service. His commitment to empowering youth, his involvement in the explorer program, and his role as a minister demonstrate his multifaceted approach to making a positive difference. Ray's exceptional character and unwavering dedication continue to inspire and uplift those around him, leaving a lasting impact on his community.

Ray Hernandez

Director of Youth Public Safety Academy

(510) 520-1703

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