Inglewood officer reunited with collection of high school artwork

EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- Before he was a cop, he was a budding artist in high school. Now, decades later, he's been reunited with his long lost artwork.

It was the mid-80s when Inglewood Police Department Officer Paul Devlin last saw his artwork. He said he left it behind at Arroyo High School in El Monte and forgot all about it until this week, when he got a call from El Monte Police Sgt. Roger Cobian, who also went to the school.

"He told me he had a box of my stuff but when he sent me the picture of the box, I almost dropped my phone," Devlin said. "Literally, a wash of memory just came over me."

The box was found in a storage room by the art teachers at Arroyo High. They don't typically track down former students to return artwork, but this collection was special.

"This was the biggest collection of artwork that we found put together that belonged to one particular person," explained art teacher Jose Olvera.

Olvera tried to find Devlin through school records but had no luck, so he turned to his old classmate and friend, Cobian.

Cobian said it took all of five minutes to track down Devlin, and he's glad he did. Everyone was surprised that the young teen behind this artwork grew up to be a local police officer.

"My first calling was to be a police officer. That's when I was very young. I picked up a pencil, and I found out I could do this stuff. I just kept working at it, and I thought I could make a go out of it but decided to be a police officer because that felt more impactful. I could make a difference in life."

"It really reminds us all, not only as police officers but as the public, that there are many sides to our law enforcement brethren who are out on the streets protecting us each and every day," Cobian said.

Devlin said he's surprised by the quality of his work and plans to frame some of his pieces.
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