Location: Sheriff's Headquarters, 833 S. Akers St., Visalia
Incident Date: Dec. 6, 2017
Incident Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Posted by: Media Relations
Sheriff hosts grand opening, awards scholarships and gives bikes to PAL kids
On Wednesday morning, Dec. 6, 2017, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux welcomed hundreds of guests to the Grand Opening for the new headquarters of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and the Tulare County Fire Department on the 800 block of South Akers Street, in Visalia.
Sheriff Boudreaux awarded two scholarships to Explorers and gave away bicycles to 22 Junior Explorers, formerly known as Sheriff’s PAL kids.
Regarding the new headquarters building, Sheriff Boudreaux thanked the Tulare County Board of Supervisors for the having the vision for the future for the Sheriff’s Office.
“We are a growing county,” he said. “The department of the Sheriff and the department of Fire are growing to meet the demands that require us to have a building such as this one behind us.”
Moving into the new headquarters represents another step toward modernization for the Sheriff’s Office. Its previous headquarters was built during the 1950s.
“The new headquarters leapfrogs us into a modern law enforcement agency,” he said. “This building represents a professional atmosphere.”
After Sheriff Boudreaux made his remarks, Fire Chief Charlie Norman also thanked the Board of Supervisors.
Chairman Pete Vanderpoel said Tulare County bought the 180,000 square-foot Class A Office building for $15.25 million.
“It is one of two of its caliber in the county,” he said.
Pathways Scholarships awarded
During Wednesday’s Grand Opening and Junior Explorer Bike Giveaway, Sheriff Boudreaux awarded the Sheriff’s Pathways Scholarship to two deserving Sheriff’s Explorers: Abraham Sanchez and Javier Mendez. They each received a plaque and a check for $2,500.
“I had a vision four years ago to create a pathway for our Explorers to get an education and to become deputies in their hometowns,” Sheriff Boudreaux said.
With funding from the Sence Foundation, this program helps college-bound Sheriff’s Explorers pay for their higher education and, after they earn their degree, sends them to the police academy. Kim Oviatt, president of the Foundation, spoke during the grand opening ceremony.
“This scholarship program completes the dream of Sheriff Mike Boudreaux,” he said. “It was a unanimous decision by our board of directors to be part of this program.”
The Sheriff’s Pathways Scholarship Program came full circle during 2017 when the first two recipients, Jasmine Orozco and Hector Negrete, finished college, graduated from the police academy and became deputies in their hometowns.
In addition to Dep. Orozco and Dep. Negrete, three other previously named Pathways Scholarship recipients are finishing their college degrees. They are Daniel Luna, Joseph Banda and Samantha Elias.
Both Sheriff Boudreaux and Kim Oviatt shook hands with the new recipients:
Abraham Sanchez of Porterville is a student at National University majoring in Field Criminal Justice Administration. He’s been a Sheriff’s Explorer for five years and has earned the rank of Corporal.
He said it is a huge honor to be named a Pathways Scholar.
“I appreciate the Sheriff investing in my future with the department,” he said. “All that support is really great.”
Javier Mendez of Lindsay attends Porterville Community College majoring in Administration of Justice. He plans to transfer to Fresno State. He also has been a Sheriff’s Explorer for five years and has earned the rank of Sergeant.
He said receiving the Pathways Scholarship means a lot to him.
“Coming from two immigrant parents who taught me to cherish every opportunity, I can’t stop thanking the Sheriff’s Office,” he said. “I’ll cherish this award each and every day until I become a deputy.”
Bicycles given to Junior Explorers
Sheriff Boudreaux presented new bicycles and bike helmets to 22 Junior Explorers. The Sheriff’s Junior Explorer Youth Development Program, formerly called the Sheriff’s PAL Program, fosters positive relationships between law enforcement and at-risk children, ages 8-12.
Lt. Harold Liles, Jr., explained that the children who were chosen to receive new bicycles Wednesday were being rewarded for getting good grades and for trying their best to be good role models among their peers.
Throughout the year, the Sheriff’s Office gives away up to 200 bicycles to Junior Explorers thanks to generous donations from businesses and community members. Junior Explorers get to go on a camping trip to the Central Coast in the summer, to the Tulare County Fair and to the International Agri-Center for a holiday party.
Soon, Lt. Liles said he will offer sporting events for the youngsters.
Info: If you know someone who would like to become a Junior Explorer or an Explorer, contact Lt. Harold Liles, Jr., at (559) 782-6852.