FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Police Department is made up for more than 3,600 sworn officers and some 550 civilian employees.
The man at the helm is Chief Eddie Garcia.
He has the distinction of being not just the 30th chief in the departments 140 year history, but also the first Latino to hold the job.
CBS 11 recently sat down with Chief Garcia to chat about his job and his background.
One of the first things he pointed out was a large Puerto Rican flag hanging from a wall inside of his office.
Garcia said, “I have had this in every office since I was a Lieutenant in California. I am incredibly proud of my Island, I am Boricua, i’m native to that island.”
The term “Boricua” is a nickname given to all those who are native to Puerto Rico.
Garcia was just a little boy when he and his family left Puerto Rico and relocated in San Jose California.
A moment Chief Garcia says he recalls vividly.
He said, “Going into California I was different. I had to deal with a lot of people… I’d get made fun of because I didn’t speak English and other things. I remember that vividly. Speaking at a park with some kids and them turning around and saying what is that kid saying. My sister still made fun of me every once in a while.”
Garcia would eventually join the San Jose Police Department and would ultimately serve as Chief before retiring after 29 years.
He said he always knew the importance of serving diverse communities.
He added, “Regardless, who you are, what you look like, where you’re from if you are a stranger here. I understand because I was once one as well.”
Chief Garcia began his tenure as Dallas’ top cop in 2021.
He shared a childhood picture of himself in a Dallas Cowboys hat, he says proves he was always destined to be here at one point or another.
Now almost two years into his job Chief Garcia says he loves embracing the diversity of the communities in Dallas and connecting with them.
He said, “Often times some parts of our community do feel isolated depending on who is in leadership and any police chief’s job is to ensure the community knows none of them will be forgotten.”
As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Chief Garcia said this month is about recognizing all the opportunities this country has afforded him and his family.
He added, “We can accomplish anything we want here, and it’s amazing to be able to say that. There are no barriers with hard work.”