Ruben Palomares’ life reads like the script of a Hollywood movie. Born and raised in some of the toughest barrios of Los Angeles, surrounded by abuse and no father figure, Ruben stayed strong and avoided the siren call of gang life that claimed so many of his friends and family members.

Ruben learned he had a talent for boxing, and worked hard in the ring and staying off the streets where he knew evil lurked. HE got so good he won the Golden Gloves and talk making the Olympic team seemed reasonable. But, he ended up missing the ’92 and ’96 teams by a few spots.

One of Ruben’s coaches was an LAPD officer, and he saw a lot about life as a cop that he liked. The discipline he learned during long hours slogging away at a punching bag paid off when he went through the academy. When he graduated, he got a lot of attention – particularly from the juvenile narcotics unit which recruited and placed him into a local high school in order to infiltrate and identify drug dealers in the school. Ruben was literally, 21st Jump Street.

In this episode, Ruben details his early years, and how he fell so far – from being a rising star within the LAPD to a convicted felon who is still on parole. Ruben had a few experiences during his career that I think w might all recognize either in ourselves or other officers. Moments when, if we’re not careful or aware, we might begin to take steps down a slippery slope. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing anything as sensational and horrific as Ruben did but it happened, and Ruben is here to tell his story in hopes that he can share the warning signs with others as a cautionary tale. Regardless of what you might think of him, it’s a fascinating story.