EP 27 – From Undercover Cop to Gang Leader to Greatness: Ruben Palomares Story

Join us on an extraordinary episode as we delve into the captivating life story of Ruben Palomares, a man who emerged from the depths of addiction and violence to find redemption and purpose. In this gripping episode, Ruben fearlessly shares his journey from growing up in the tough neighborhoods of LA, surrounded by gangs, to becoming an Olympic-level boxer and an undercover cop in the LAPD.

Ruben’s life took a dramatic turn when he found himself caught in a life-threatening situation as an undercover cop, battling with PTSD and grappling with the lack of awareness surrounding mental health. His violent upbringing and martial arts training only intensified his self-blame, despite receiving accolades for his bravery.

But it was during his darkest moments, isolated in solitary confinement, that Ruben’s life took an unexpected turn. Through a chance encounter with a fellow inmate named Jimmy, Ruben discovered a path to healing and redemption. As he connected with God and sought help from counselors and Christian psychologists, Ruben began to confront his childhood traumas and anger issues head-on.

In an inspiring twist, Ruben’s transformation extended beyond his own healing. He started doing Bible studies with fellow gang members, planting seeds of faith and hope amidst the despair of prison life. With a heart full of compassion, Ruben dedicated himself to helping others in prison through counseling and Bible studies, spreading a message of rehabilitation and hope.

Now retired from the police force, Ruben has embarked on a new mission. He is building mental health programs through martial arts, using his own experiences to raise awareness about red flags and the urgent need for better programs within the police department. His speaking engagements have become a platform to advocate for mental health issues and encourage open dialogue about unresolved trauma.

Join us as we explore Ruben Palomares’ extraordinary journey of forgiveness, understanding, and resilience. Discover how surrendering his life to Jesus helped him overcome his violent and addictive past, and how he is now dedicated to building a ministry that supports individuals with various levels of trauma, including police officers who often struggle with unresolved issues due to the nature of their work.

Don’t miss this powerful episode filled with gripping stories, personal revelations, and a message of hope. Tune in now to hear Ruben Palomares’ incredible story of transformation and redemption.


Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the stand or beliefs of the host or the podcast. We aim to provide a diverse range of perspectives and ideas, fostering open and respectful discussions. We encourage critical thinking and forming your own conclusions. Enjoy the show!



About Our Guest (Ruben Palomares)

Ruben Palomares is a remarkable individual who overcame a challenging upbringing in the tough neighborhoods of East L.A. Despite the odds stacked against him, he excelled in school and became a Golden Gloves boxer, even sparring with boxing champions Oscar de la Hoya and Sugar Shane Mosley. After joining the LAPD, a shooting incident left him with PTSD, leading him down a destructive path. However, through a transformative encounter with God and the support of counselors and Christian psychologists, Ruben found healing and redemption. Now retired from the police force, Ruben is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues, particularly within the police department. He uses his own experiences to advocate for better programs and support for individuals with trauma. 

Follow Ruben Palomares on Instagram (@otherlevel_coaching) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/people/Ruben-Palomares/100086164346192/) for more inspiring content. Don’t forget to grab his ebook, “Redemption: From Rogue LAPD Cop to Inner Healing,” available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Rogue-LAPD-Cop-Palomares-ebook/dp/B0734JNG53/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1EVRUMKUSMUHZ&keywords=ruben+palomares&qid=1703186161&sprefix=ruben+palomares%2Caps%2C85&sr=8-1).


Show Notes

  • [02:16] Ruben Palomares shares how he grew up in tough neighborhoods in LA, surrounded by gangs, which influenced his tough guy mentality, but also endured physical and verbal abuse from his alcoholic stepfather, leading him to become even tougher and always ready to fight, instilled by his uncles and reinforced by his karate training. 
  • [03:58] Ruben shares his journey into boxing, from his initial interest to training with Olympic gold medalist Paul Gonzalez and sparring with future champions like Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley.
  • [06:44] Ruben shares his experience as an undercover cop in the LAPD, where he worked in the narcotics unit, infiltrating a high school to uncover drug dealers and weapons. 
  • [08:39] Ruben shares a harrowing experience of being caught in a life-threatening situation as an undercover cop, using his skills to defend himself and apprehend the criminal. 
  • [10:19] Ruben shares his personal experience with PTSD and the lack of awareness and understanding surrounding mental health in the 90s, as well as how his violent upbringing and martial arts training shaped his mindset, leading him to blame himself for getting shot during a shootout, despite receiving a police medal for his bravery. 
  • [11:55] Ruben shares his experience working as an undercover police officer in a violent gang-ridden city.
  • [14:09] Ruben shares his experiences of planting evidence on gang members and justifying his behavior, getting addicted to adrenaline, and the investigation that led to his disillusionment with the police department. 
  • [16:44] Ruben shares his descent into a life of crime, starting with recruiting officers who are disgruntled with the department, robbing cartels, collecting debts, and getting addicted to easy money and revenge.
  • [18:56] Ruben shares a personal story about his involvement in a sting operation and his struggle with pride and anger.  
  • [20:10] Ruben shares his experience of being arrested and betrayed by his friends, leading to his isolation in solitary confinement and his anger and thoughts of revenge, while also expressing his disbelief in God and the corruptness of the government. 
  • [21:48] Ruben shares his transformative experience in prison where he meets a fellow inmate named Jimmy who introduces him to God.
  • [23:05] Ruben shares his personal journey of connecting with God while in prison.
  • [24:42] Ruben shares his personal journey of finding forgiveness and healing while serving time in jail, where he sought help from counselors and Christian psychologists to address his childhood traumas and anger issues.
  • [26:59] Ruben shares his how he started doing Bible studies with fellow gang members, planting seeds of faith and hope.  
  • [29:16] Ruben shares his journey of rehabilitation and healing from his past traumas while being incarcerated, and how he used his experiences to help others in prison through counseling and Bible studies. 
  • [36:53] Ruben explains the importance of forgiveness for personal healing, emphasizing that until forgiveness is achieved, the past continues to control and affect one’s present every day. 
  • [43:39] Ruben shares his personal journey of learning to communicate and resolve conflicts without violence.
  • [46:33] Ruben shares his personal journey of overcoming trauma and his goal of building a ministry to support individuals with various levels of trauma, including police officers, who often struggle with unresolved issues due to the nature of their work. 
  • [49:04] Ruben shares his journey from being a retired cop to building mental health programs through martial arts. 
  • [50:38] Ruben discusses his various speaking engagements where he raises awareness about red flags, mental health issues, and the need for better programs in the police department. 
  • [53:41] Ruben discusses his journey of forgiveness and understanding with his stepfather, who revealed that he was not his biological father, and how this revelation impacted his boxing career and personal life. 
  • [55:43] Ruben shares a personal story about spending two years with his father before he passed away.
  • [57:32] Ruben discusses his journey of redemption and how surrendering his life to Jesus helped him overcome his violent and addictive past.
  • [58:52] Ruben Palomares shares his contact information, including his email and new YouTube channel called “The Redeem Warrior 91,” which is inspired by Psalm 91.


For more incredible and inspiring stories of those who have overcome alcoholism and addiction, tune in to the next episodes of The Begin Again Podcast through:


About Gary Menkes

Gary Menkes was born and raised in Port Washington, NY and struggled with alcoholism since his early teens which took him to places he never wants to go again and which took a toll on his health, relationships and professional endeavors. However, Gary completely transformed his life when he was given the gift of sobriety on May 13, 2006. Determined to break free from the cycle of self-destruction, he embarked on a remarkable journey of recovery.

Today, Gary is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous in New York, married to the love of his life and father of two amazing children of which he owes all to his sobriety. Gary is now launching his own podcast, The Begin Again Podcast.