Vincent "Vinny" Cruz was a police officer and partner of Jamie Reagan until his death. A consummate flirt he never passed up an opportunity to make an impression and get a phone number.
Vinny grew up in the Bitterman Projects Housing Community and sometimes babysat a neighbor who nicknamed him Skinny Vinny. Unfortunately that boy was later tricked into shooting the Mayor as gangs had taken over the area.
Officer Cruz transferred to the 12th Precinct from the 35th Precinct. He was in the middle of telling a story regarding his sexual exploits when Jamie entered the locker room which did not make a good first impression. When another officer mistakenly shot and killed a civilian during their first case, like many other officers, he felt that the Commissioner hadn't stood with his men, a point Jamie vehemently defended against. Later the Commissioner talked the officer down from suicide and earned the respect of those on-scene, including Vinny.
A passionate individual, Vinny often acts on gut instinct, leading to a clash early on with Jamie when he suspected a young boy of being involved with the gang under investigation for a drive-by shooting. Though the incident leads to strife it also is fruitful when the boy proves to be the link to the murder weapon. Later Jamie lays down some ground rules that Vinny agrees to without argument. From then on their partnership dramatically improved although Jamie was always grudgingly willing to go along with Vinny's schemes to impress women during their patrols.
Once violence escalated between the City and the Bitterman Projects, Vinny made the disasterous decision to pursue a suspect into the housing projects and into an ambush that claimed his life.