Councilmember Juan Villegas
Occupation: Sheriff Officer/Educator, County Sheriff’s Department
Education: Santa Ana College
First Elected: November 2016
Term Expires: November 2020
Juan Villegas is a 27-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He is the second of seven children to Mexican immigrant parents. He was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and attended Santa Ana College and Fullerton College.
At age 18, he enlisted in the United States Army as a Combat Medic serving in Germany and Ft. Drum, NY from 1985-1989. Upon his honorable discharge, Juan joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as a Sheriff Officer and began serving in the City of Santa Ana in 1989. He has held many assignments throughout Orange County, but chose to serve in the City of Santa Ana.
Compassionate about helping youth, in 2001, he began volunteering as an instructor with the Orange County Bar Foundation’s Shortstop Program, based in Santa Ana. This program has over 30 years of providing highly effective juvenile crime diversion program that provides juveniles an alternative to prosecution. Juan has served as a key instructor for the Shortstop Program for over 16 years and is proud of the significant positive impact it’s had on the community.
In 2009, Juan published La Vida Tiene Valores and became the first Latino law enforcement officer to write an educational parenting book in Spanish in the United States. This book is used as supplemental reading for many universities and programs in Southern California. He later published his book in English, Life Has Values, which won first place at the International Latino Book Awards Literacy Now for Best Parenting/Family Book in 2014. From that came a prestigious recognition for Juan, as he was recognized as the Award Winning Author of 2014.
Subsequently, Juan brought forth information about parenting and delinquency prevention to the airwaves by hosting a weekly talk radio program called "Prevenir es mejor que lamenter con el Oficial Villegas' (Better Safe Than Sorry with Officer Villegas) in 2011. The Spanish talk radio program aired on ESNE International Catholic Radio (El Sembrador) and sister stations across California and Mexico. Juan has dedicated his time to the talk radio program for over five years.
The dedication and commitment to serving the community has granted Juan several recognitions, including: Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2007, California Attorney General Peace Officer Commendation Award from Kamala Harris in 2014, and Medal of Merit Orange County Sheriff’s Department in 2015.
Juan is a proud father of one daughter and has pledged to be of service to the City of Santa Ana.