Olivares declared officer of the Year

Police Officer of the Year Esteban Olivares (right) with president of the Kern Valley Exchange Club John Blythe (left)

Photo and story by Catherine Stachowiak

The Kern Valley Exchange Club (KVEC) awarded Esteban Olivares the Officer of the Year Award for his valiant service to the community. Paradise Cove Lodge hosted the award luncheon, on Thursday, May 30.

Olivares said he was humbled being chosen out of all the dedicated officers he knows.

On behalf of Kern County Supervisor Phillip Peters, president of the KVEC John Blythe awarded Olivares a certificate in recognition for his achievements and exemplary public service and civic contributions to the County of Kern.  From State Senator Shannon Grove, Blythe awarded Olivares a Certificate in Honor for his service to the Kern High School District and Kern Valley High School. On Behalf of Outgoing Assemblyman, and future Congressman Vince Fong, Blythe awarded Olivares recognition from the California State Legislature Assembly honoring Olivares as Officer of the Year. Blythe awarded Olivares, on behalf of the KVEC, an honorary plaque of recognition for his outstanding service to the community as Officer of the Year.

“I’m very humbled and honored because honestly I can think of a lot of different officers that have dedicated their time and efforts to help improve the community.” Olivares said, “Unity for service is one of your mottos and that’s in line with what law enforcement is striving to accomplish.”

Olivares was born in Venezuela, and moved to the United States with his family when he was six years old. He is grateful his family came to live in the United States. 

He said he is on the spectrum, has ADHD, and knew policing was a good fit for his need for change.  He joined law enforcement when he was 21. Olivares worked as an undercover anti gang officer for two years. He was a training officer and worked as a senior lead officer. He then retired after 20 years, at the age of 41, when he joined the Kern High School District Police Department, where he worked for Kern Valley High School for about five years. 

Blythe said that Man of the Year for the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce, Gary Zuber helped the Kern Valley Exchange Club to attain certificates from public officials to award Olivares.