Anna Williams was a drug addict and dealer, in and out of jail for years, until one night eight years ago.
“They raided my house. I was in the car. [Then] Officer Puga came and got me out of the car and stood me in front of him,” said Williams.
It was then when Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy, John Puga arrested Williams. She said it was then when her eyes were open to what she had been doing all these years.
“What I was doing to the children, to the people out there. [He said] how he was trying to save them and trying to get them off the streets and I’m over here dealing it. [He was] telling me how much I was a menace to society,” said Williams.
Anna went to prison that night and with her, Puga’s words.
“He said a couple of things that stuck with me. And I said something to him and he said ‘Anna don’t talk to me. I’m not your friend, we are not friends,’” said Williams.
When she got out, she found him, thanked him and formed a friendship.
And like her, Puga wants people to know that the police are not their enemies.
“We’re not out there with a badge and a gun just to take people to jail and just throw everybody behind bars,” said Puga. “There’s things that we do, that can reflect the community in a good way.”
So they came together Sunday night at The Mission to share their stories. And like others at The Mission, Puga had a childhood that affected him.
“My real father was not a good person. He had a drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and womanizing addiction. He was very abusive,” said Puga.
Puga says he did not want to be like him, but to help those like his father.
With both their stories, they are now speaking to crowds, hoping to turn people’s lives around. Like Anna’s was eight years ago.