Former Central Valley High School athlete Gabriel Quezada doesn’t get much sleep these days due to his hectic schedule.
The aspiring sheriff’s deputy dedicates 40 hours of week to training at the San Joaquin Delta College Peace Officer Academy when he’s not working as a volunteer firefighter for the Mountain View Fire Protection District.
“I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It’s very rewarding helping those in need.”Gabriel Quezada
“I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact and be a part of something that is bigger than myself,” said Quezada, 21. “It’s very rewarding helping those in need.”
Hired by a neighboring county law enforcement agency in April, Quezada must complete 960 hours of training in a six-month span in Stockton before he can become a sheriff’s deputy.
Academy participants meet, from 6:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“We’re learning how to be cops there,” Quezada said. “We’ve almost hit our halfway mark. I’m ranked 11th out of 46 cadets. It’s been tough. It’s a mental game. They put us in stressful situations and work us as hard as they can. I compare it to football growing up. There are rules and regulations you have to follow. You give it your all.”
Quezada will begin his professional career in law enforcement after he graduates from the Delta College Peace Officer Academy in November.
“My mom and dad are proud of me,” he said. “They’re excited for my future. It’s definitely a dangerous job in today’s world. Anything can happen at any time. You have to keep your guard up and know your surroundings. I want to be a part of the next generation that rebuilds trust with their communities.”
Quezada worked as a correctional officer, from March 2019 to May 2020, at the San Andreas Jail.
“It taught me stuff I can apply on the streets when I’m a sheriff’s deputy,” he said. “I learned how to talk to people that were older than me, build my command process and write reports. You have to treat everybody with respect.”
Quezada was hired by the Mountain View Fire Protection District in June of 2018.
He volunteers on Thursdays and Fridays.
He trains on Monday nights after attending the Peace Officer Academy.
“I’ve definitely surprised myself,” Quezada said. “I never thought I’d be in this position. I explain to people what I’ve done in the last three years and it’s a shock to them. The hardest part is trying to find time to sleep. It’s been hectic. I’ve found ways to make it work.”
A star defensive lineman at Central Valley High School, Quezada earned a scholarship to Humboldt State.
He contributed at tight end as a true freshman.
“Sports are bigger than the game,” he said. “You learn lessons and apply them to everyday life.”
Quezada joined the Modesto Junior College football team in 2018 after Humboldt State cut its program due to a lack of funding.
He played in just one game for the Pirates before suffering a season-ending back injury.
“I could have had surgery if I wanted to keep playing,” he said. “But I thought my time was over. I figured I’d focus on school and my career.”
Quezada wore a brace for several months while rehabbing on his own.
“I achieved what I wanted to do in football,” he said.
Quezada has two years of schooling left.
“My plan is to get my degree from Stanislaus State in the next two years if time permits,” said Quezada, a criminal justice major.
Never satisfied, Quezada talked about what his dream job would entail.
“My final goal is to become a fire investigator,” he said. “You have to have law enforcement and fire experience.”