He was one of the most iconic police officers in television history, and now he’s a cop in real-life, too.
Erik Estrada, who played Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello on the 1970s/1980s TV series “CHiPs,” was sworn in as a reserve officer in St. Anthony, Idaho over the weekend.
The 67-year-old TV star shared the news on Twitter:
An honor for me and my partner daryl Williams ,we now serve the saint Anthony police dept. Proudly. pic.twitter.com/pzrhhC3PU9
— ERIK ESTRADA (@ErikEstrada) July 6, 2016
OK fnf's I'm now a police officer with the ST ANTHONY POLICE DEPT. pic.twitter.com/aAvG4l7SSf
— ERIK ESTRADA (@ErikEstrada) July 2, 2016
Estrada will be working on the police department’s new Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
“The online sexual predator will take his time to groom a child on the internet,” Estrada said, according to NBC station KPVI. “They will send them gifts, they will befriend them, they will be there for them and before you know it, the child has disclosed every bit of information of themselves. Now they know where they live.”
Estrada has been involved in a number of causes involving children, from car seat safety to D.A.R.E., and has most recently focused on internet safety and protecting kids from online predators.
His appearance in St. Anthony wasn’t just a photo opportunity, either. The department expects he will be actively assisting their program.
“We’re talking a long-term partnership. I expect it will run for the next two or three years,” police chief Terry Harris told the Standard Journal. “He’s a great guy. He’s going to be a great part of the team.”
“CHiPs” ran from 1977 to 1983 on NBC. For five of the six seasons, Estrada’s character was partnered with Larry Wilcox’s Officer Jon Baker, and the two worked as motorcycle cops for the California Highway Patrol.
By Ed Mazza