Villager Vignette: Officer Juan Valdez, the Oak Ridge North Police Department
Oak Ridge North, Texas
   
 
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Oak Ridge North Police Officer Juan Valdez is pictured on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, outside of Oak Ridge North City Hall. Photo: Michael Minasi, Staff Photographer / © 2017 Houston Chronicle

Juan Valdez is one of the newest faces in the Oak Ridge North Police Department.

He's also a first-generation American from Mexico and one of two Latinos in the 17-officer department. Valdez is also a part of a group of only a few law enforcement personnel in Montgomery County who speak Spanish.

In his family, the 25-year-old is the first to attend and graduate college. The Sam Houston State University graduate has taken it upon himself to set an example for his three younger brothers.

"I am very conscious about being the oldest. I have to do everything right," Valdez said. "They are good kids, but if I had taken a different route (in life), things could have gone a different way (for them)."

The journey to become a police officer wasn't always easy, he said.

"(My parents) were really proud about it," Valdez said. "When you are a full-time student, you can't provide for them financially. It got hard at times. They have been my supporters."

After four years of university, six months of police academy and a few months riding with a field training officer, Valdez along with two other police officers were sworn in by Oak Ridge North Mayor Jim Kuykendall at a recent council meeting.

Becoming a police officer was a lifetime in the making for Valdez. When in the sixth grade, he told his mother he wanted to be a police officer, he said.

"When I say I'm going to do something, I execute," he said. "I'm not just talk."

From handling traffic stops to assisting other law enforcement agencies, the rookie officer now spends his time protecting the streets of the city of Oak Ridge North.

"I want to do good and help people," he said.

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