J.W. Cortés is a Marine combat veteran turned actor, speaker, entrepreneur, and law enforcement professional. Born and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to inspiring Puerto Rican parents, he developed a keen interest in the arts along with a strong desire to serve both his community and country.
Having amassed an impressive number of television and film credits he is known as the first actor to portray the DC comic book character “Detective Alvarez” on FOX’s primetime hit series “Gotham.” JW actively travels throughout the country delivering what many have described as rivetting, awe-inspiring, and highly impactful keynotes describing his journey from his Brooklyn stoop to the sands of the Middle East, to screens worldwide.
An eighteen-year veteran of the New York State MTA Police Department, he currently serves as a DCJS Certified Instructor for Principled Policing-Procedural Justice, Crisis Intervention, ALERRT Active Shooter, Firearms & Defensive Tactics for over twelve-hundred sworn members. His experience as a member of the Training Bureau has made him a much sought-after lecturer affording him the opportunity to travel throughout the state of New York delivering compelling orations, ranging from officer wellness to mental health and suicide prevention.
As a strong advocate for local and national non-profit organizations, he has fostered relationships in various markets and industries to help raise awareness and critical funding for Veterans, First Responders, their families, and the arts. Today he proudly serves as President of The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation, a foundation whose namesake bears the name of one of the two NYPD Detectives who lost their lives and sparked nationwide conversations and change via The White House regarding officer and community safety. Cortés was recently appointed by the NYC Mayor’s Office Of Media and Entertainment to the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission as well as to the Cooperate Advisory Board of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey which focuses on empowering the Latino community.
Cortés honorably served in the United States Marine Corps for nearly thirteen years, serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a member of the famed Marine Security Guard Battalion, his foreign service post assignments were to East Africa, Asia, and Australia. His military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Marine of the Year.
He is the loving father to two teenage sons and the fortunate husband to Francesca.