Life, it seems, is now imitating art. Remember that classic late-1970s and early-1980s TV show CHiPs, the one about a pair of California motorcycle cops starring the fun-loving Ponch and Jon?
Well, it turns out that Ponch (short for Frank Llewelyn Poncherello), played by Erik Estrada, is back in the saddle—quite literally. The actor has been sworn in as a reserve motorcycle cop in the small town of St. Anthony, Idaho.
OK fnf's I'm now a police officer with the ST ANTHONY POLICE DEPT. pic.twitter.com/aAvG4l7SSf— ERIK ESTRADA (@ErikEstrada) July 2, 2016
Estrada is no stranger to real-life policing. The native New Yorker grew up wanting to be a cop, and his diversion to Hollywood apparently didn't entirely fulfill that dream. In 2008, he was sworn in as a reserve officer and assigned to the overnight shift in Muncie, Indiana.
A year later, he was made into a full-time deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia, by the director of the Safe Surfin' Foundation. It's this group that Estrada continues to be closely involved with today. The Safe Surfin' Foundation is designed to help protect children from online predators.
“The online sexual predator will take his time to groom a child on the internet. They will send them gifts, they will befriend them, they will be there for them and before you know it, the child has disclosed every bit of information of themselves. Now they know where they live,” Estrada told NBC affiliate KPVI.
There's no word on just how long Estrada will be in St. Anthony, but we sure hope Ponch sticks around long enough for a few motorcycle rides.