Counter Criminal Continuum policing is being credited with reducing crime in Springfield's North End, one of the most violent neighborhoods, by 68 percent.
State police said the new approach to policing has been life changing for some.
A successful C3 police raid at a Lowell Street home last Friday is underlining the power of choice for North End native Joseph Mendoza.
"Growing up here is tough... a lot of drugs and violence and stuff," he said.
Ever since he was 8, he's looked at his neighborhood and wanted to change it for the better. On Friday, he became Private First Class, a graduate of Marine corp boot camp from Parris Island, SC.
"I'm leaving this place, I'm leaving this earth, but knowing I made a difference in the world," Mendoza said.
When he came home from boot camp he expected a joyful reunion, but that's not what happened.
"They arrested one of my best friend's mom, my best friend and his little brother," Mendoza said.
His lifelong friend is one of the 10 arrested in Friday's raid now in jail facing drug and weapons charges.
"We found guns, we found drugs, we even found bullets," said state police trooper Luis Rodriguez.
He is part of the team that patrols these streets. He's also someone Mendoza looks up to and he's proud of the 19-year-old who he said could have been another casualty of the rough neighborhood.
"You took that hand you were dealt, you could have easily went down the same path that your best friend did on Friday. You've taken the hard path, the right path and that's the difference," Rodriguez said to Mendoza.
But Mendoza's success brings some pain, as he recalls the conversation he had with his friend right before he left for boot camp.
"He told me 'I want to try to do something with myself, I might join the military, I just need to get my mind set,'" Mendoza said.
The two friends now live polar opposite lives. But Mendoza said it has never been simple, especially being the eldest of four with a single mom.
"There's always different choices you can choose," he said.
One day he said he'll return to these streets as a state police trooper, but now more than ever he's thankful for the choices he made growing up that weren't always easy.
"I've never had the best, it's just I've strived to be the best that I can and that's what pushes me forward."
In a few days, Mendoza will be sent to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to continue training before he's deployed.
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