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Behind the Badge - Officer Aaron Arreguin

November 30, 2021

This past summer, Officer Arron Arreguin received his eighth commendation in the last three years. Arreguin’s exemplary performance on the force comes from a passion to serve his community and a desire to rewrite the negative narrative so many have embraced concerning law enforcement.
Arreguin understands why some individuals don’t trust the police. He says, “Growing up, I thought police officers were bad. I didn’t see them as humans. They were just a badge, and in our home the badge represented trouble.”

His father had experienced racial profiling as a Hispanic male in Louisiana in the 80s and 90s, and he openly shared his distrust of the police with his children.
Sadly, as a high school student in West Virginia, Arreguin observed the police mistreat his father while responding to a disturbance in the home. During the encounter, his father resisted police as they attempted to enter the home. A physical altercation ensued, and at the end of the scuffle, Arreguin witnessed an officer kick his dad in the face while he was handcuffed and laying on the ground.
He says, “In that moment, I was sure law enforcement was the enemy.”

However, he also had the opportunity to gain a new perspective. While dating his wife, he interacted with her family’s friends who were law enforcement and ex-military. His perspective shifted as he began to see the humans behind the badge and the positive impacts they made on the local community.

During the time he spent with these officers, he recognized that each one had their own lives, hardships, and reasons for entering law enforcement. By the end of his junior year of college, he began to consider a career in law enforcement. He says he thought, “Why can’t I be the one making a positive difference?”

Arreguin’s dad wasn’t particularly happy about this career choice and tried to persuade him to select another path. However, once Arreguin began his career in 2016, his father became the biggest supporter of his work.
Officer Arreguin says, “His negative views came from the time and the environment he was in, but now he sees officers as humans with their own problems and struggles. It flipped the script for him. He likes me to call every night before I get on the road and at the end of my shift when I come home to make sure I am safe.”

Arreguin has seen a lot in his five years on the force, but he still approaches each call with a desire to help the people he interacts with since he knows he encounters many of them on one of the worst days of their lives. He says his mindset is, “How can I make this better for them?”
Arreguin attributes his ability to handle the emotional strain that comes with dealing with people in crisis to the support of his wife and other officers who have helped him to stay open and talk through the traumas of the job.

Officer Arreguin never stops trying to make a positive difference. He says, “My whole goal is to go in there and change people’s minds the best way I can.”

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Jaclyn Piermarini

"I really enjoyed hearing about everything the police do, and feel like both on a personal level and on a professional level it will help so much to understand their perspective. We are so lucky to have them. We come from all over the country over in this newsroom, and we know how good we have it with this police force. Thank you such much for treating us to an inside look at what they do!"

—Jaclyn Piermarini, Reporter Charlottesville Newsplex