It’s rare to make a major public production of a deputy trainee being sworn in, but Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Monday’s ceremony marked the first time a Sheriff’s Pathways scholar has been hired under a new program.
With her parents watching, deputy trainee Jasmine Orozco, 21, of Cutler, promised to faithfully enforce the laws. She will be assigned to the Orosi substation, serving the community she grew up in.
“I know everybody in the community and everybody knows me,” she said. “It makes me approachable.”
She also is fluent in Spanish, having grown up speaking the language at home.
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“Keep your goals high,” Boudreuax said. “You could become the first female sheriff who is Spanish speaking.”
I know everybody in the community and everybody knows me.
Jasmine Orozco, deputy trainee
Two years ago, Boudreaux started the Pathways scholarship program with funding from the Sence Foundation in Visalia.
The foundation funds two scholarships per year for college-bound sheriff’s Explorer Scouts, with the promise that they will be hired at the department upon graduation.
“The goal of the program is put our local youth back into their hometown communities after they graduate from college and train at the police academy,” Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux said the program helps students pay for their education and gives the sheriff’s department a chance to better connect with the community.
“It’s a win-win,’ he said.
Trainees and deputies will have plenty of opportunity to move up as they gain experience, he said.
Orozco was the first student awarded a Pathways scholarship.
The goal of the program is put our local youth back into their hometown communities after they graduate from college and train at the police academy.
Mike Boudreaux, Tulare County sheriff
She joined the Explorer Scouts at age 15 and stayed active in the program after graduation from Orosi High.
At Fresno State University, Orozco studied criminology with an emphasis on law enforcement.
Midway through her sophomore year, she applied for the scholarship and to her surprise she was successful in being chosen. “It was a good feeling,” she said.
The process involved being interviewed by a 15-member panel of community members and law enforcement representatives.
Orozco is completing a final course at Fresno State and will graduate in December. Next month, she will continue at the College of the Sequoias’ Police Academy.
In mid-January upon graduation from the police academy, she will be sworn in as a deputy sheriff. Her immediate goal is to be a patrol officer, she said.
“I just like the whole idea of helping out my community, making a difference,” Orozco said.