Officer Ron Diaz, Columbus Police Department

Published 7:44 am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Officer Ron DiazBy Claire Sachse


Publisher’s note:  We’d like to recognize those in our community who help make a difference in the quality of our lives. In that spirit we plan to regularly feature the men and women making a difference.  To recommend someone be featured here please email us at:, with subject line:  Getting to know you.

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When Officer Ron Diaz joined the Columbus Police Department full time in 2012, the town’s former manager asked him to look into starting a program for youth. Diaz, 33, began researching law enforcement mentoring programs and discovered one sponsored by Learning For Life, a career exploration program. In 2013, the department started the Explorers Post 911 and today, it has seven active members from high school and college.

“We did four laps around the track today,” said Diaz on Wednesday, about the group’s weekly physical training sessions. “They did pretty good, but clearly we need to do more PT.”

In addition to PT, the Explorers assisted the police department at the Fourth of July festivities, for which they received commendation certificates from the chief of police. They have received training on techniques for making traffic stops and using handcuffs. Diaz will lead the group when they participate in traffic stop challenges with other law enforcement explorer groups.

In the future, there will be opportunities for the students to ride along with officers during their shifts. Diaz also plans a number of group outings to play paintball, camp out, and zip-line.

Working with this youth group and performing police work is like a ministry, said Diaz.

“My favorite part of the job is interacting with people, although that can also be the hardest part, too. Most of the time, I’m not seeing people at their best. They’re hurt, angry or intoxicated. You’re the person that can help them get things under control. You’re the one to help them through the situation,” he explained.

“God gives me the opportunity to connect with people in that way. In a way it is like a ministry. God has put me here for a multitude of reasons,” said Diaz.

The “here” Diaz refers to is Columbus, as well as this point in his life. Originally from Miami, Diaz only recently relocated to North Carolina, after a four-year enlistment in the Marine Corps. Diaz said he got saved in 2009, a turning point for his life that led him to choose a career in law enforcement.

He completed basic law enforcement training at Blue Ridge Community College in 2010 and served the Columbus Police Department on a reserve basis for six months before he was hired full time in 2012.

His mother was from Saluda, and Diaz has a cousin and brother in the Polk County area. Diaz met his wife who is from Trinidad while they were serving together in the Marine Corps as cooks. They have young son. When he is off duty, Diaz spends time playing basketball with his son and being with his church family.

“Over time, I have grown to love this area,” said Diaz. “By far, hands down, this is the best place to raise a family.”