The children of today are the future of tomorrow and as they grow into adults they look for guidance.
In 1981, Jim Wells County Sheriff Oscar Lopez had a motto in his heart, “The youth of today are the future of tomorrow.”
When he started his lengthy career as a sheriff for the county Lopez had 15 junior reserve officers in a summer program. The junior deputies partnered with deputies and were able to go on calls.
The experience made a difference in the lives of the 15 junior reserve officers, including Capt. Albert Martinez and Capt. Rey Escamilla Jr. who are currently employed with the sheriff's department.
According to Martinez and Escamilla, the program taught the junior reserve officers what being in law enforcement was about and how to solve crimes in the community.
“All the junior deputies went on to work in law enforcement agencies around the state,” Martinez said.
When the program started the youth were in mind and the sheriff wanted to give the youth something to do. One they could stay out of trouble and two maybe peak an interest and give them a career pasted a summer program.
“We were trained as junior officers about how the job should be done and we have implemented the skills we've learned,” Escamilla stated. “After all this time we are still working to solve crimes and better the community.”
Although the junior reserves are no longer a program with the sheriff's office, due to insurance issues, there are other programs in the area such the Alice High School Junior Police Academy that contributed to the success of the youth and law enforcement agencies.
According to Martinez, the sheriff contributes to the JPA.
“These men have gone full circle in law enforcement,” Lopez said. “My motto in 1981 is still true today, 'The youth of today are the future of tomorrow.'”
“We need to invest in the community, in our children's success,” he stated. “It's vital to the community and the nation that our children are successful.”