OHS student named advisor to Texas Crime Stoppers Commission

ECISD Police Chief Jeff Daniels and 70th Court District Judge Denn Whalen pose for a photo with Odessa High School junior Clarissa DeLeon who was recently named a member of the Texas Crime Stoppers Council. (Courtesy Photo)

Following in her father’s footsteps, Odessa High School junior Clarissa DeLeon has taken a step toward law enforcement becoming a student advisor on the Texas Crime Stoppers Council.

Last year, OHS senior Cooper Aranda was sworn in as the first-ever student advisor to the Texas Crime Stoppers Council.

DeLeon found out a Crime Stoppers awards banquet.

“It was just a surreal feeling,” DeLeon said.

She has been involved in Crime Stoppers since sixth grade and was appointed to be an ambassador as a freshman.

“The ambassadors are kind of like the voice for the students around Texas” and let students know they don’t have to worry about reporting something and they will remain anonymous, DeLeon said.

She added that providing tips to Crime Stoppers means you’re helping someone else and not doing it for your own personal reasons.

DeLeon said it’s hard to get fellow students to understand that they’re not telling on somebody.

“Because the people who are doing these crimes are their friends and they feel like they’re snitching on their friends and they’re going to find out,” she added.

It’s a way to make the community better.

“It’s spreading the word that it’s something that is going to do good for the community later on, even though you might feel that it’s hard to do at first,” DeLeon said.

DeLeon first got involved in Crime Stoppers because her dad knew someone who was in the organization. Her dad, Paul DeLeon, is an Ector County ISD police officer and was with the Ector County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years.

“It was just a great volunteer opportunity, too, and I wanted to go around and start helping in my community. It was just something that I felt like doing. It felt like I was called to do it,” she said.

She didn’t feel any pressure to go in a law enforcement direction. She just wanted to help out in her community.

“At first I never knew what being an ambassador was, or being in the Texas Crime Stoppers Council. It was just something that came along throughout my journey,” DeLeon said.

She added that she enjoys meeting younger kids and encouraging them to advocate against crime and get involved in the community.

“I like to see their faces light up, honestly. It gives a warm feeling to you and it feels great getting to influence them,” DeLeon said.

DeLeon, who is in the International Baccalaureate program at OHS, is leaning toward being a lawyer or a forensic scientist as a career right now.

One of the interesting things she has experienced as an ambassador is visiting jails in different counties and cities and seeing how they operate.

“Crime Stoppers has influenced me to come out of my shell. … I was very soft-spoken at first … I love the environment that I’m around. They’ve all had a piece in my development as a person throughout the years,” she said.

DeLeon has one older brother who works for the City of Odessa. Her mother, Rachel, does as well.

OHS Principal Anthony Garcia said being named to the commission is a great opportunity for DeLeon.

“She’s worked very hard. She’s a great student and it’s exciting for Odessa High to have another student achieve this accomplishment,” Garcia said.

He added that the school encourages students to be a voice for their peers.

“I think that goes a long way when students are deciding what organizations to be involved in. I think this encouraged her to be in the position she is in now,” Garcia said.