Erik Estrada, who played Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello on the television show “CHiPs” from 1977-83, was sworn in as a reserve police officer Saturday in the small town of St. Anthony, Idaho.
As a spokesperson for the Safe Surfin’ Foundation, Estrada has spent the past decade educating both children and adults against the dangers of online predators.
“Education is the best protection, especially on the internet,” Estrada told the Idaho State Journal. “Certainly don’t ever go meet someone you’ve been chatting with. They’re not who they are. If they send a picture, that isn’t them.”
On Saturday, Mayor Neils Thueson swore Estrada in at City Hall in St. Anthony, which is a town of 3,500 people.
Estrada, who was named the international face of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) in 2000 and made a full-time deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia, is living his dream of actually being involved in law enforcement – a dream he’s had since even before his acting days.
“I wanted to be a cop first and then I became an actor and then became a cop on TV. The TV thing allowed me to become a reserve officer in Indiana. I became a real cop,” he said. “How many people have that kind of blessing? I’ve been blessed that way. I’ve been lucky."
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