City continues to vet applicants for police chief

October 14, 2018 GMT

The hiring of a new Brownsville police chief continues with the vetting of the eight applicants who are seeking to replace Orlando Rodriguez, who retired in August after 36 years of service.

Rodriguez served as police chief from 2012 until 2018.

All candidates vying for the position are personnel with the Brownsville Police Department.

“As of right now, we’re continuing to vet the applicants,” interim City Manager Michael Lopez said. “We did close the application. Now, what we’re doing is a vetting of the candidates and we’re looking at their backgrounds and files as well.

“We’re working with the (Police) Union as well. We’re working with their members to see what kind of characteristics they’d like to see in their police chief. I’ll be taking their input as well and the input from the City Commission to see what they feel a good candidate would be for the new police chief. Once I get that, I will be conducting interviews for the first candidates.”

The applicants are Uniform Services Commander David Dale, who has been with the department for 26 years; Patrol Lieutenant William Dietrich, 21.9 years; Investigations Services Commander Henry Etheridge, 30.3 years; Patrol Sergeant Napoleon Gonzalez, 20.3 years; Lieutenant Raul Rodriguez, 30.6 years; Lieutenant Felix Sauceda, 26.8 years; Lieutenant Gerard C. Serrata, 21.4 years; and Sergeant Carlos A. Zamorano, 22.9 years.

Interim Police Chief James Paschall, who was appointed to oversee the department on Sept. 17, did not apply.

Lopez said the selection process is estimated to take about 30 to 45 days and is aiming to conduct interviews by or before mid-November.

The candidate selected will appear in front of the City Commission for approval.

“Qualities (we’re looking for) include honesty and integrity,” Lopez said. “My goal as the interim city manager is to ensure that the police department has a very strong administrator to lead the department. I want to make sure they understand budgeting, that they understand the ability to lead. … I think any of these candidates have the ability to do that.”

The interim city manager added that he wants to thank the Brownsville community for its patience in the hiring process, as he and the city want to be thorough and ensure the best candidate is selected.

“I want to remind the community that while we do have an interim police chief, the rest of the positions do have men and women who have committed to service and they continue to operate successfully and efficiently while we continue to be one of the safest cities,” he said. “We want to make sure the community knows that while the interim is there, the people who go out there and that they see every day are there permanently to provide protection. The foundation of it was left by our previous chief and the leadership is still there as well.”