Channeling his most famous role on CHiPs, actor Erik Estrada was named a reserve officer for the St. Anthony, Idaho police department on July 3. Sworn in by the town’s mayor, Neils Thueson, Estrada’s main duties will involve working with the town’s police department in protecting children from online predators.
After first contacting the town’s police chief, Terry Harris, by e-mail in mid-May, Estrada had to wait until Harris confirmed that his message wasn’t fraudulent. Even after Harris had notified the town’s council about the impending visit, a number of residents refused to believe him.
Estrada has been performing similar duties for police departments across the country, emphasizing the importance of education when it comes to making children aware of such dangers. His reasoning for choosing St. Anthony and other small towns to perform such work is that the bureaucracy and the political entanglements with major city police departments make it impossible to accomplish any of the expected goals.
This other facet of Estrada’s life first took shape when he served in a similar capacity with the Muncie, Indiana police department. One of his jobs was to catch online predators, which proved to be so jarring that he began to work with other departments.
During the course of his work in this area, Estrada has found that it’s absolutely vital for missing children to be found within the first three days that they’re missing. To aid in that work, software is being developed to help photograph children at different angles.