John Reinert Scholarship Awarded To Florida Academy Graduate

February 12, 2024 (Santa Rosa, CA)

Out to Protect announced today the award of a John Reinert Scholarship to Esmeralda Alaniz of Sanford, Florida.

Esmeralda Alaniz graduated from the Seminole State College Police Academy. She was selected by the board of directors of Out to Protect for having demonstrated being an outstanding “out” role model for law enforcement.

Ms. Alaniz was born in Homestead, Florida. Her passion to pursue law enforcement began in elementary school on career day. Local first responders performed and spoke with students about their duties, but it was a female K-9 officer that captured her attention. Alaniz said, “She proved to me anything can be possible even in a profession that is male dominated. Seeing her train with the German Shepard was an experience I would never forget.”

By the age of thirteen, Ms. Alaniz was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition that did not have a cure and surgery was the only option to fix the damage done to her body.  After graduating from high school, she went to community college for two years. During that time, she came out to her mother after a church retreat. “Coming from a Catholic family, being part of the LGBTQ+ community was not well received. I knew my attraction to girls started when I was six years old, but not having someone to understand how I felt made me hide my true self until I could not anymore,” said Esmeralda.  She added, “This is not just a job to protect and serve people, but to give a voice to the ones who are seeking guidance and want to change how the community perceives law enforcement. One difference can change the world, but it starts with who is sworn in, not forgetting where they come from and staying humble.”

The John Reinert Scholarship was originally created in 2009 by Out to Protect founder Greg Miraglia. It was named after San Jose Police Officer John Reinert who was one of the first “out” gay officers in his department. John passed away in 2012. Greg Miraglia said, “We are thrilled to award this scholarship to a young woman who is ready to serve her community and the law enforcement profession in a way Officer Reinert would have been proud of.”