The Tulare County Sheriff’s Pathways Scholarship Program came full circle as the first recipient was sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff Trainee at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
Jasmine Orozco, 21, was sworn in Monday, Sept. 19, as the first Pathways Scholarship recipient to be hired by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. She is a Deputy Sheriff Trainee as she finishes the last module of her police academy training at College of the Sequoias.
After graduation from the academy, she’ll be assigned to her hometown as a Deputy Sheriff. She said she’s excited to return to Cutler/Orosi.
“I know everyone and they know me,” she said. “They would not be afraid to approach me because I come from the same community, I’m a woman and I speak Spanish.”
Sheriff Mike Boudreaux started the scholarship program two years ago with funding from the Sence Foundation for college-bound Sheriff’s Explorers. The goal is to put local youth back in their hometown communities as Sheriff’s Deputies after graduation from college and training in the police academy.
“I’m very proud of the program,” Boudreaux said. “It creates stake holders in the community and in the department.”
Since its inception in 2014, five Explorers have been awarded Pathways Scholarships.
Orozco was born in Reedley and raised in Cutler/Orosi, graduating from Orosi High School in 2012. Her desire to go to college was nurtured by her hard-working parents who are immigrants from Mexico, and her older sister who is a nurse.
While in high school, she noticed other students in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Explorers and it caught her attention, she said. Up until then, she hadn’t considered a career in law enforcement. She became an Explorer when she was 15.
“Before that I wanted to be a veterinarian,” she said.
Orozco graduated from California State University, Fresno in May with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. She said she wants to become a deputy so she can help people and for the excitement of the job.
“Every day is always different,” she said. “I’m an adrenaline junky.”
Becoming a Pathways Scholarship recipient was a big opportunity for her. It helped pay for her college education and, now, for her final module at the police academy, she said.
“Just yesterday, I was an Explorer dreaming about working for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and now I’m here about to get sworn in,” she said. “I just feel really lucky and blessed for this opportunity.”
Students, ages 14-21, are eligible to become Sheriff’s Explorers. They receive training in police radio procedures, patrol operations, crime scene investigations, traffic enforcement, arrests, search and seizure, emergency first aid and more. And they volunteer in the community by assisting with parking and informational booths. For more information, contact Deputy Ixchel Franks at 636-4695.