COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County deputies have arrested two men they say were trying to pass themselves off as police officers.
The story begins at La Raza AM, where Vanessa Vardoza works. She co-hosts a show on Wednesdays called The Raul Ortiz Show. Ortiz is a Richland County deputy who gives crime prevention tips to Spanish speaking listeners and answers questions.
Ortiz is trying to bridge a gap.
"It's the fear of reporting things," said Ortiz. "For some reason they think we are INS and we're going to take them back home and that's not the situation in Richland County. We don't practice that."
Deputy Ortiz was not behind the mic Sunday night. He was working a crime scene on Percival Road where a woman was robbed at gunpoint Ortiz said the two men pretending to be officers robbed her and took off. Luckily she's a listener of his radio show.
"When I went down to the scene, she said, 'I listen to your show and I remember when you said if you become a victim of a robbery remember what direction of travel, what kind of vehicle they are driving,'" said Ortiz.
It worked, in a matter of hours deputies made two arrests, Kevin Meeks and Robert Brown. Ortiz says its proof his show is working.
"We have a lot of people calling in reporting things," said Ortiz. "In other cases they were afraid, now we are breaking the ice."
Ortiz says he has been asked to sign an autograph or two as of late, but he insists his job on the airways will remain secondary to his job on the streets.