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Captain Ernie Sanchez
Graduated from the Academy in 1991


1. When did you first think about becoming a CHP officer? Include family, friends, school presentations, local or world events, etc. that may have influenced you.

When I was a teenager, living in Calexico, CA, my father was employed by the School District as a school bus driver. My dad would come home and talk about the CHP Officer's professionalism, specifically, their uniform appearance and in particular their shiny boots! He was always impressed with their work ethic and would comment about seeing them testify at court, and dealing with them during his written test/driver tests certifications. When an agency can impress an adult, in this case my father, a person who I look up to, I was strongly influenced to become a CHP.


2. What obstacles did you encounter during your efforts to become an officer?


Being from a small town, Calexico, CA, it was always daunting to see the significant amount of candidates that would show up to each part of the testing process for CHP Cadet. Nevertheless, my recruiter kept me motivated and encouraged me to do my best in the process and that I would succeed, this is advice I continue to use now in my 23 year CHP profession.


3. Describe what you were like in high school. Activities, sports, interests, etc. If you went on to college, describe your college life.

I was always active in high school. I wrestled, played football and when I got injured playing football, I took up the sport of cycling. I was able to continue cycling through college at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, where I participated in intramural events and was ultimately selected to participate in a USA Cycling Federation Cycling Team Camp held in Colorado Springs, CO. My active lifestyle has continued with the CHP, being a peace officer requires staying fit and healthy and through related competitions such as the Western Region Police and Fire Games and the World Police and Fire Games, I have been able to maintain my competitive edge and have made great friends from all over the world.


4. What jobs did you have before becoming an officer? You don't have to list them all, but we would especially like to know the one, or ones, you had immediately before going into the Academy.

Before coming to the Academy, I was a full time student at BYU.


5. How did your family, friends, or different groups of friends, react when you were in the selection process and then became an officer? If it was a less than positive reaction, how did you handle it?

While at BYU, I was recruited and selected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to work as an agent. Luck would have it that weeks before I was to enter the Academy, a hiring freeze occurred. I was soon recruited and entered the CHP Academy which was a blessing in disguise as they too had a hiring freeze starting with the next class after mine! The FBI recommended that I gained some life experience working for a premier law enforcement agency like the CHP and 23 years later, here I am!


6. What words of wisdom, if any, did you receive about becoming an officer?

Dedication! I was counseled to remain diligent in my quest to become a CHP officer. Not only during the hiring process but also during the 24-week Academy (today the Academy is 27 weeks long). Setting a goal, being open minded and learning from my peers at the Academy was the best advice I received about becoming a CHP officer.


7. What are some of the interesting things you've done on the job (or off) while on the patrol?

Off the job, my CHP expertise has extended to community organizations I belong to. I am regularly called up to work with the Boy Scouts as a merit badge counselor on topics related to law enforcement and or community policing subjects, and for the past 8 years I have served as the president of a local cycling club that promotes cycling awareness and riding a bike as an alternative, healthy method of transportation.


8. What words of wisdom (or encouragement) would you like to pass on to possible applicants?

Pursue your goals! If law enforcement is something you are interested in, then go for it. Stay the course, gain an education, stay physically fit and exercise your analytical and writing skills. These suggestions will make you strong candidates and will ensure your success in the CHP profession.


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