Local sheriff's deputy featured in national campaign about public service

SEATTLE -- It’s been a tough few years for law enforcement. Several cases of police brutality were caught on camera, leading to rallies and marches across the country.

One company is now trying to put the spotlight back on the officers who are doing their job correctly and making a positive difference. The company chose to feature a King County sheriff's deputy in their new national campaign.

Ricardo Cueva isn’t your stereotypical deputy.

“I grew up pretty poor,” he says. “I was a high school dropout.”

His family didn’t really trust the police. They had heard stories about officers abusing their power and using more force than necessary.

“If you don’t own up to your mistakes, the public views not just you, but the entire police community, as not trustworthy.”

But Cueva believed officers could make a difference. So he joined the King County Sheriff’s Office two years ago, becoming the first Mexican-born deputy in the department. He says being a native Spanish speaker has helped him make connections in the community.

“When people call police, it’s because they’re in crisis. To go in, speak the same language, and understand where they’re coming from, I’ve been able to get more cooperation,” he says. “It puts people at ease.”

He thinks that might be one of the reasons TASER International asked him to be part of their new ‘Why I Serve’ campaign.

“It was an honor, but I was kind of shocked,” he admits. “There are guys in the department who have a ton more experience, they’ve done greater and better things than I have.”

But the campaign is focusing on people like Cueva that the public can relate to.

“I want people to know they can count on their police department, they can trust us. I want them to know they can call when they need our help.”

He also hopes he can inspire young people to think about law enforcement as a possible career.

“Helping people and protecting them,” he says, “there’s got to be somebody that does it.”

To learn more about the campaign, go to Why I Serve.