New Deputy Reunites With Newcastle Officers Who Inspired Him
Posted on 08/03/2018

New King County Sheriff Deputy Carlos Marquez always had an answer when teachers in his criminal justice classes at Washington State University asked him, “What inspired you to become a police officer?”

He can pinpoint the moment exactly. It was an interaction he had with deputies as a teenager living in Newcastle about 10 years ago. Deputy Marquez was always a good student studying at Liberty High School, but as he got older, he started exhibiting some typical teenage behavior that just became too much for his single mother Carolina to handle alone.

After an argument, Carolina called the police. Newcastle Deputies Steve Kajihiro and Scott Yamamoto responded to the scene and met Carolina outside, where she asked them to talk to him and set him straight.

The Newcastle officers did more than that. They listened, they calmly counseled him and they engaged in a positive interaction that ultimately changed the course of Deputy Marquez’s life and inspired the young man to pursue a career in law enforcement.

In July, when Deputy Marquez reported for duty on the first day of his training assignment with the Newcastle Police Department, which contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services, he unexpectedly came face to face with those influential figures who still patrol the streets of Newcastle to this day.

“This is going to sound kind of corny, but you inspired me to become a cop,” a shocked Deputy Marquez said as Deputy Kajihiro introduced himself to the new trainee that day.

The Call

That situation — a brewing conflict between a teenager and parent — is a pretty common call officers receive, Deputy Yamamoto said.

“We just try to go in there and kind of referee and try to keep people calm,” he said. “We always try to talk to the kids and teenagers and try to get them on the right path. Explain to them what's going to happen if they go down the wrong path.”

After working together since their days at the police academy in Hawaii, Deputies Kajihiro and Yamamoto developed a routine of sorts when they’d respond to such a call. One officer would go talk to the parent while the other would chat with the kid, Kajihiro said. They would then take turns switching off and on, going back and forth.

During these conversations, the officers listen and calmly offer advice. They encourage patience with the parents. With the kids, they try to find a hook or an interest they can discuss as they develop a relationship and urge the teen to stay out of trouble. For Deputy Marquez, it was sports. He was on the Liberty High School swim team and the track and field team.

“I think I remember seeing a picture of him swimming at the time, so we started talking about sports,” Deputy Kajihiro recalled. “We just try to find out what interests the kid to get their attention.”

Deputies Kajihiro and Yamamoto bring a calm, even demeanor to all of their interactions with citizens. They both credit that to their upbringings in Hawaii.

“The way you act toward people matters,” Deputy Kajihiro said. “You can change somebody’s life, because if we were mean to him that day, it could’ve gone the other direction.”

“We try to talk to people the way we would want to be talked to,” Deputy Yamamoto added. “We've always been that way.”

Deputy Marquez now strives to follow their example, encouraging other young people to make good choices and promoting positive interactions through an uplifting, composed attitude with everyone he meets. The Newcastle deputies showed him kindness that day, and that will always stay with him, Deputy Marquez said.

“That was it,” he said. “That day, they just changed it all with the way they talked to me. It was huge.”

A Proud Mother

Originally from Venezuela, Carolina and Deputy Marquez first settled in Burien, but the duo moved to Newcastle after one of his good friends was shot and killed. Carolina was determined to raise her son in a safer community.

“I worked hard to raise my boy in a good area,” Carolina said. “Newcastle's not that cheap.”

Deputy Marquez can’t thank her enough for all of the sacrifices. The move and the call to police were crucial moments in developing him into the man and deputy he is today. Plus, she did it all on her own, operating a cleaning business and doing the job of both a mother and father.

“Her call changed everything,” he said. “I don't know where I would be now. She did everything. Everything.”

Carolina, who still lives in Newcastle, was admittedly hesitant when her son told her he wanted to be an officer, but she couldn’t be prouder of the person he’s become.

“I’m the mom and I just support him in whatever he decides to do. I'm here for him,” she said. “Thank God, he's an amazing son. He's an amazing guy. I'm very proud of him.”

Story Credit: By Christina Corrales-Toy / City of Newcastle

Photo Credit: City of Newcastle.

Deputies Scott Yamamoto, Carlos Marquez and Steve Kajihiro

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