Baseball PALs for LifeJan 19, 2023 12:00AM ● By RCPD News Release
Officer Jose De La Cruz is recognized by Chief of Police Brandon Luke for his 22-year law enforcement career with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office and RCPD. Photo courtesy of RCPD
Officer De La Cruz Retires from 22-Year Career
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Rancho Cordova Police Department (RCPD) Officer and Police Activities League (PAL) Executive Director Jose De La Cruz retired from a 22-year law enforcement career with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.
Jose grew up in Sacramento and started playing baseball when he was seven. He went semi pro, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and thought of being a school counselor or baseball coach. However, he sought a different career when he met his future wife.
Jose worked for the Sacramento County Probation Juvenile Hall, before being promoted to Probation Officer and partnering with the Sheriff’s Office on school-related issues. He decided to try for the Sheriff’s Office Academy and became a Deputy in 2000.
After working at the Main Jail for 18 months, Jose joined RCPD’s team and never left. He served the City of Rancho Cordova as a Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer and Problem Oriented Policing Officer.
In 2014, Jose began managing the nonprofit Rancho Cordova PAL to support local youth. He has focused on growing relationships with the community, mentoring youth, building free programs and hosting community events. PAL now serves more than 4,500 youth each year.
Jose is proudest of PAL’s Junior Giants League, a free baseball and softball program for youth. The league is one of 13 nationwide to be awarded the highest Diamond status, and Jose was inducted into the Junior Giants Hall of Fame.
Another milestone for Jose was the opening of the Rancho Cordova Youth Center, a project he was instrumental in bringing to fruition. He had dreamed of a place to solidify PAL programs and build relationships with youth, the city and police department.
“If you make an investment early on in youth, they will hold onto those values and experiences when they become adults,” said Jose. “My goal was that one day, children will talk about growing up in PAL and how PAL changed their lives. My legacy is not that they remember the who, but the opportunity they had.”
In his retirement, Jose plans to volunteer with Rancho Cordova PAL to continue being involved in the Youth Center and changing the lives of youth.