Rico Velasquez raises his hand in a jaunty salute, then straightens his polo – which features the word “Police Cadet” on the front – in the meantime, someone else has waved to him, and he quickly greets them too.
It is not hard to see that Velasquez, a part-time student at De Anza College and a police trainee, is seen a friendly and outgoing person, but the fact that he is to become a police officer does damage his ability to make many friends, he said.
“Many students kind of stay away after they find out that I am a police trainee,” Velasquez, 23, said, “especially with everything in Ferguson and Baltimore and whatnot.”
This stigma that De Anza College imposes upon Velasquez as a future police officer is reflected across the country. According to an April 2015 poll by The Economist newspaper and a market research firm – YouGov, 49 percent of Americans do not trust police officers, and would not believe their testimonies in a trial.