With word that Sweetwater Police Chief Roberto Fulgueira will soon retire, Mayor Jose Diaz is already contemplating what the next step will be to fill the position.
In a phone interview, Diaz said that there have been some potential candidates who have shown their interest in the position, but the mayor hasn’t yet decided on the next move.
“We will see whether it’s best for the city to hire an outside chief, or we will try to find a consensus among the new command to see who we should consider,” said Diaz, who said he has received résumés and phone calls from people interested in the position. “It will be analyzed.”
Recently, Fulgueira, who has held the position since 2005, told the Miami Herald that he will retire in part because of his mother’s poor health. Ex-mayor Manny Maroño promoted him to the position and has worked for the city for 32 years.
He hasn’t provided an official retirement date but is currently working with the city on a retirement plan, Diaz said.
Fulgueira’s announcement comes as Diaz is restructuring the police department.
His statement comes following an FBI investigation and a fair amount of scrutiny on current officials.
In August, detective William Garcia was arrested by the FBI and accused of fraud and identity theft over the use of phony credit cards. A week later, Sgt. Reny García and detective Octavio Oliu were suspended with pay as a result of the federal agency’s investigations. Civilian employee Richard Brenner was suspended with pay but later returned to work
In the meantime, Diaz said he will count on advice from the newly appointed deputy chief in charge of administration and operations Roberto Ochoa and Jesus Menocal, who was police chief from the 1990s until 2003, where Maroño demoted him amid a police brutality scandal.
Diaz said he would likely consider someone from the current police department. Although the mayor appoints the chief of police, the commission has to ratify his appointment.
“If we keep it within the police department, maybe that would be good for the city since we have so many problems in the past and everything seems to be OK now,” he added. “Everyone is happy with all of the changes and rules and new administration."