WESLACO, Texas (KVEO)—A city of Pharr Firefighter, and author, is hoping the subject of his latest children’s book will help make a difference in the perception of law enforcement officers.
Many Valley residents are familiar with the questionable but sometimes effective form of discipline that inspired Santos Vallejo’s, 32, new children’s book titled ‘Protect and Serve’.
Oftentimes, many well-meaning parents will tell their children that they will turn them into the police if they do not behave.
While many can laugh at the empty threat in retrospect, Vallejo is using this example to teach children the lesson that police do not need to be feared.
Vallejo often uses children’s books to communicate messages to his own children.
“It’s an easy way to start developing their minds because a lot of the times they like to play video games, watch cartoons, and I feel like we’re straying away from reading,” said Vallejo. “I personally write them for my very own kids… I put a message in the book.”
In Vallejo’s previous books, he uses himself as the main character to teach his kids about the adversities he faced growing up with a learning disability and how he went on to become a firefighter despite the odds.
He struggled with reading and writing when he was in school, so being able to share his experiences through books is a grand achievement.
“I thought I wasn’t going to become anything, I ended up becoming something, which was world-changing for me. I’m super grateful to be a fireman so I use the message,” said Vallejo.
This is Vallejo’s first book that does not have to do with firefight.
He was hesitant to write about police officers since his experience was only in firefighting but felt he could make a difference anyway with the experiences that he did have – in this case, being taught to fear the police as a child.
“I work with the city of Pharr alongside their police officers and they’re nothing but good guys,” said Vallejo.
In the book, a police officer who does his best to do right by the community is villainized by a parent trying to get the child to behave, using the aforementioned threat. The child is later too scared to approach the police officer for help when she gets lost.
Vallejo has read to various school groups as large as 900; he adds that anyone can write as long as you have a good storyline.
You can find a copy for your child on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.