Criminal Justice

Student Successes

Henry Montes

Now an Inspector in Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office, Henry Montes credits Cabrillo's Public Safety Department for his successful career.

As the youngest of 10 children in a family that migrated from Mexico, Henry was born and raised in Watsonville. When his brother joined law enforcement, Henry became interested as well, and he signed up for the class at Cabrillo which was required to become a reserve officer.

This was a great opportunity as it allowed me to work part-time in law enforcement, gaining experience, while still holding down a full-time job to support my family," says Henry.

This made Henry eligible to join the Watsonville Police Department, and then in 1995 he began working for the Sheriff's Office at the jail. Meanwhile he continued taking courses at Cabrillo, including English writing which he considered his weakness.

Henry continued on his career path, spending four years at the jail, going to the Police Academy, becoming first a patrol officer and later detective with the Sheriff's Office, and then in 2006 moving to the District Attorney's office. There, as Inspector, he is primarily assigned to major crime cases such as homicide, gangs, and extradition. His being bilingual is an asset in his work.

His proudest achievement is attending and graduating the FBI National Academy in Quantico; a three-months training course for state law enforcement officers.

Henry says "It all started 25 years ago at Cabrillo. I appreciated that the instructors were all current or former local law enforcement. It was the best move I've ever made. It was a sacrifice but it was well worth it.

Sandra Raya

As early as the 6th grade, Sandra knew she wanted to work in criminal justice. She won a scholarship to Cabrillo College that year by writing an essay "What I Want to be When I Grow Up," which was being a police officer.

Later, at Watsonville High School she took an elective class, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and became even more interested. She is now in her second year in the Cabrillo program, majoring in Criminal Law and Communications.

My time in the program is going well. I've learned about behaviors and the law enforcement system," says Sandra.

After she finishes at Cabrillo, Sandra plans on transferring to San Jose State University, working toward a degree in criminal justice. She wants to add some psychology studies in as well.

I get a great perspective about psychology from Ginger Charles, and it's what I enjoy the most."

Due to this interest in psychology, Sandra envisions working hand in hand with the justice system in a role such as Domestic Violence Survivor Therapist or Police Counseling.