Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Motor City Mania: Erik Estrada is policing the information superhighway these days

Erik Estrada may be a few decades away from the California Highway Patrol, but law enforcement has always been his motivation.

"I was going to be a New York cop before I became an actor," Estrada told us this past Friday night at the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan. The actor, so fabulously famous as Officer Francis Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello on "CHiPs" in the late '70s and early '80s, grew up on the streets of Spanish Harlem. After the acting bug bit, he gained superstardom on the small screen. But years after he disembarked from that California police motorcycle, his real zeal for law enforcement emerged.

"My passion is protecting children," Estrada told us. "I did D.A.R.E. for six years. And then they killed that program. But this can't be killed."

The "this" he's referring to is the Safe Surfin' Foundation, facilitated through the Bedford County, Virginia, Sheriff's Office. It's one of the badges that Estrada wears these days (he's also a police officer in Muncie, Indiana).

The foundation was formed in 1990 to increase Internet safety training and to lobby for mandatory Internet safety training in public schools throughout the United States. If a school is interested in the safety education, Estrada says, the foundation will come and do a presentation for free. It's targeted, especially, toward kids age 5 to 8, the formative years.

"My goal is to have Internet safety education in every school in the nation," Estrada told us. "It's gotta be a mandatory thing."

You can learn more about the foundation at Estrada also has some info on his own site,

OK, so ... but what about the acting thing? This hunky actor, who's had a wealth of roles over the years that include not only a long-running Latino soap but CBS' "The Bold and the Beautiful," too, doesn't look a day over 35, BRBTV can attest!!!

"I'm not looking," he said to our question of any upcoming roles.

Yes, avid fans, evidently this highway patrolman has found the badge -- and the higher-tech highway -- he likes best.

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand!

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