Harlingen native earns impressive reward, details journey that got him here

HARLINGEN — For the second time, Harlingen native Rudy Delgado Jr. has been named Officer of the Year, this time with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

Delgado, 35, who is married to fellow Harlingen High School graduate Sonia Benitez Delgado, won his initial award in 2012 while serving with the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department.

This year he won while working at the sheriff department’s training center where he is an instructor for the tactical response and rescue training team.

“I’m the active shooter instructor now for the county, just doing training,” Delgado said yesterday. “We work with the fire department so they can go into the ‘warm zone’ we call it to treat victims.

“We just go around the county teaching our deputies how to respond to these types of situations,” Delgado said.

Delgado’s foundation for his training position was laid during his stint in the U.S. Marines following his graduation from Harlingen High.

He served for four years, with his last year being at Camp Pendleton in California.

“I kind of look at it like I’m still serving like I was in the military but here,” Delgado said. “I take work seriously these days.”

After leaving the Marines, Delgado worked for a private security firm that had a contract to provide security at the Playboy mansion in Beverly Hills.

He also worked on protection details for dignitaries and celebrities.

Delgado described California as “a lot busier” than Harlingen, but that he and his wife manage to return to visit family and friends at least once a year. The couple has four children.

Part of the reason it seems busier could be because of Delgado’s volunteer work that has raised thousands of dollars for local charities. He also is a member of the Alumni Program of the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Texas is still home to me,” he said. “I love the fact that I grew up in Harlingen and I still keep in contact with Coach (Manny) Gomez.”

“That was my foundation for everything,” Delgado said of Harlingen and Harlingen High. “I’m really proud that’s where I’m from.”