“I encourage children to achieve their goals and get them out of the mentality that they won’t amount to anything based on where they grew up.”—Officer Robert Rodriguez
Officer Robert Rodriguez, Public Information Officer for CHP, Bakersfield Area
Birthplace: Bakersfield, Ca
How he got started: Rodriguez had been working for the Superior Court as a file clerk when he started encountering members of the California Highway Patrol. “I had spoken to several CHP officers and immediately noticed their professionalism as well as how approachable they were,” he began. “It also helped that they were driving the 1996 IROC Camaro and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a sweet patrol car!’” He attended the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, and after some years on the force, was promoted to the position of Public Information Officer in 2009.
Career highlights: Simply put, the people that he encounters make up his biggest highlights. “It’s really a fun job, and you get to meet other people in the PR field and work with them.” He’s met with Congressman McCarthy, Senator Jean Fuller, and an assortment of other professionals. “I love it,” he said.
His favorite part of the industry: For Rodriguez, being able to reach out to children in our community is what really drives him. “I try to have an impact on their lives, and hopefully in a good way,” he relayed. “I encourage them to achieve their goals and get them out of the mentality that they won’t amount to anything based on where they grew up.” Coming from the guy who pioneered the CHP for Kids Toy Drive, this is just another day on the job.
His heroes: When it comes to heroes who shaped him, one woman has his heart. “My mom. She has such a compassionate heart and just loves people. She always greets people with a smile, no matter how tired she may be.” This is saying something, considering he’s rubbed elbows with Eric Estrada a few times! “I remember when I first met him, he said, ‘Man, you remind me of me when I was young,’ and gave me a big hug. I got a kick out of that.”
What else he’d like to accomplish: Rodriguez admitted that he has already done what he has set out to do, but it might not be what you’d expect! “I sang the National Anthem at a Condors game, and I even sang at a Fresno Grizzlies game in front of twenty thousand people.” Pretty impressive for someone who was never formally trained!
Photo by Gregory Cook