San Juan to search for new police chief

The city of San Juan is soon beginning its search for a new chief of police following Chief Juan Gonzalez’s retirement.

Gonzalez had been on paid suspension since July 14, and little information has been provided by the city explaining the circumstances that led to their decision to suspend the long tenured police chief.

“I did get to see a retirement letter saying that he will officially retire,” San Juan Mayor Mario Garza said. “Obviously we’re going to go ahead and open up the chief of police position, hopefully by this Friday, and take in some applicants and see who’s interested in that position.”

Gonzalez has over 30 years experience in law enforcement and served as the city’s chief of police since 2009.

When asked if he knew what qualifications the city would be looking for in its applicants, Garza said not necessarily.

“Basically, we want to see the qualifications— see what kind of experience they bring to the table,” Garza said. “The city manager (Benjamin Arjona) is the one who goes through the interview processes, and then he makes a determination on the chief of police.”

Arjona has remained mum on matters pertaining to the chief of police since Gonzalez was suspended.

Following the Aug. 3 special called meeting of the city commission, in which the commission came out of executive session and unanimously approved a recommendation by the city manager, Arjona and Garza have said that they could not comment on what was voted on.

“It’s a personnel matter,” Arjona said following the meeting. “Whatever is on the executive session, I cannot discuss that.”

Attempts to reach Arjona for comment regarding Gonzalez’s retirement have been unsuccessful.

Given the secretive nature of the city commission regarding Gonzalez, Garza said that he wished him the best.

“All I can say is that I wish Mr. Gonzalez good luck in the future,” Garza said. “He’s done good work in our city. We’re just going to focus and move forward and get the right person for the city of San Juan.”

Sgt. Albino Rodriguez has served as interim police chief since Gonzalez’s suspension, per Arjona’s appointment.