HAYWARD (KPIX 5) -- Many Students Rising Above scholars end up in jobs they didn't plan for. Victor Arellano thought he would work in finance until he saw a need in his own hometown. Now he's a police officer in Hayward.
A typical busy day on the beat for Officer Arellano includes traffic stops, property theft investigations, and missing persons' reports. All are duties that fill his patrol time and call sheet.
But it's connecting with the community that Arellano sees as his most important role.
"Finding a way to support people ... being a peace officer was one of the easiest ways I could see to actually support people out on the field," said Arellano." And people I grew up alongside with."
People he grew up with who have known him simply as Victor, a hometown Hayward kid whose immigrant parents came to the U.S. from Mexico searching for the bright future their children would eventually have.
When we first met Arellano, he was a senior at the University of Pennsylvania interning at a management consulting firm and eyeing a career in finance.
"I am doing consulting," he told KPIX 5 back in 2018. "I would like to branch out and see where I best fit, and if I don't like it, well, then there is a ton of other options."
There were life-changing options Arellano had never considered, like his first job out of college as a social worker in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. The experience honed his compassion for others as he saw neighborhood residents battle addiction.
"Right outside our office, we were located on 6th and Mission," he recalled. "It was not uncommon to see people outside shooting up, people living on the streets setting up tents. And it's there for everyone to see."
Everyone may not see the struggle, but Arellano's view of it changed his life. His dream of a future in the financial world lost its luster, and he headed home to Hayward and into his new role.
"A lot of these events can be very traumatic growing up ... even I myself was a victim of robbery as a kid," explained Arellano of his new role and perspective as a police officer. "When I needed help I would call the police ... I have had friends and even family members that grew up with domestic violence, substance abuse ... and even people who have passed away that are very close to me.
"I look at policing as a very fulfilling job," he added. "It helps me redeem and help people who are in distress."
But his beat is also filled with friends, who will always see Officer Arellano as Victor. Future plans include studying law at his dream school, the University of Pennsylvania. But for right now, he's relishing being at home in Hayword.
"They're very proud!," said Arellano about his family and friends. "Obviously they worry because it's a dangerous job but they know that God is with me and on my side. And I have good partners with me, and if they keep me safe, I will do the same for myself and for them."
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