JEFFERY COPRICH JR
My name is Jeffrey Coprich Jr, I learned how to tackle anything that comes my way growing up in the inner city neighborhoods of Watts, Compton, and Inglewood. Growing up in these neighborhoods of L.A., I overcame challenges that have shaped my character. As a young Black male, I was pressured to take many different routes in life, and not all were positive. Where I come from, individuals like myself are not supposed to succeed, we are not often exposed to positive role models. Kids from the “hood” do not have programs or guidance that teach them how to be successful. The constant message I heard as a young Black male was that I would not amount to anything in life, unless I played sports, I disagree!
My main goal was to make it out of the hood, follow the beat of my own drum, and tackle life differently than what I was used to seeing. I could have chosen the route some of my friends took, which was gangbanging, dropping out of high school and being involved in illegal activities. In my 27 years of life I have lost more than 14 friends and family members to the L.A. streets. Luckily, I was blessed with parents that invested in my schooling and kept me going in the right direction. As a result, I am the first in my family to attend college at a 4 year university, receive my degree and graduate. I consider this a miracle since I could have been lost to the streets or died at the age of three in a car accident. I survived the car accident on my third birthday in 1996, which unfortunately took the lives of my seven year old sister, Essence K. Coprich, and my cousin, Dejhunna Baker. This life altering experience caused me to appreciate life and the great responsibility I now have in making sure I do not take it for granted.
To display my appreciation for life I decided to contribute to my community, in a positive way. I wanted to be a catalyst for social change and the inner city youth. I am the proud founder of the Jeffrey Coprich Book Club in honor of my sister. My hope is to raise awareness about the lack of resources for the schools in the inner city and the high rates of illiteracy. In 2015, I filmed a documentary with Microsoft highlighting my story. Microsoft assisted the foundation in providing books and computers for the Essence K. Coprich Library at 116th Street Elementary School. As a result of my endeavors in the community I was awarded the All-State Good Works Team award. I attended that 2014-15 Sugar Bowl game and was presented with this award on national television during halftime.
Growing up football and music were my saving grace, I learned to play the drums at the age of 3. I attended 32nd street USC Performing Arts middle school. While attending 32nd Street, I played in a jazz band and played for different events around the city. I continued playing the drums in high school for the school’s jazz band at Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita, Ca. During my high school years I attended Golden Valley and West Ranch, where I graduated. I played football, the running back position, at both schools.
Moving to Santa Clarita with my Dad and Stepmom was very different for me, the danger element was not there, I didn’t have to be concerned about my safety anymore. I was exposed to a different way living. In a short time, I adapted, relaxed in my environment and made new friends. I was able to really focus on school and have fun.
In my senior year of high school I received offers to play football for many teams in the PAC 12 Division. I chose to attend University of California in Berkeley because of their excellent academic standing and history in football.
I graduated from Berkeley in 3 ½ years receiving a degree in Legal Studies. I continued my football career in hopes of going to the NFL. Unfortunately, after getting an opportunity to play professionally, I sustained an injury that would not allow me to continue my pursuit of playing in the NFL.
Today, I am a Los Angeles police officer protecting my community. People may ask why this profession? My answer is: Who better to serve the LA community than a person who grew up in the heart of everything. I would rather change the narrative and make a difference in my community then watch someone from the outside attempt to. Furthermore, I am still pursuing music as a new recording artist. Although my sports career is over, I take everything I have learned and apply it to life. When I am torn down and tackled by life’s challenges, I think about all that I have been through and that motivates me to get back up and play the next play.