Friday, March 19, 2010

Local hero, of national note, speaks to ROP high school class

Corporal Ally Jacobs, the University of California police officer who helped break the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case, spoke today to Patricia Blades’ ROP Law Enforcement Careers class, at Pinole Valley High School. “If I can inspire one person to take the time out of their day to help others, and listen to their gut instincts, then I’ve done my job,” said Corporal Jacobs to an enthralled classroom.

Corporal Jacobs has become something of a celebrity lately, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, but she remains modest about her accomplishments. Standing in front of the ROP class, she told the students about her journey from high school to college to the Police Academy. She was inspired to go into law enforcement by a high school teacher. Now she’s back in high school trying to inspire others.

Corporal Ally Jacobs

Part of her message to the class was, “Pay attention to your instincts.” Corporal Jacobs believes hunches and intuition can be important. She told the story of her encounter with the protagonists in the Jaycee Dugard case. “I knew something was wrong in my gut,” she said, and she followed up on that feeling with a phone call that lead to more investigation, and the eventual return of a young woman who had been kidnapped 18 years earlier.

While this sensational case made her a hero in others’ eyes, Corporal Jacobs said, “We didn’t do anything stupendous. We just followed our instincts. Everyone in this classroom has the ability to have a positive effect on people’s lives.”

Jacobs shares stories about her career with students (l-r) Adam Brownrigg, Daniel Chavez, and Brandon Whitson in Pinole Valley High's ROP Law Enforcement Careers class

The Contra Costa County Office of Education’s ROP Program offers career technical education classes in every comprehensive high school in the county. There are over 50 different ROP courses, ranging from Law Enforcement to Biotechnology to Robotics Engineering, which help prepare students for college or future careers.