Former constable will take over after Garcia’s long career

LA FERIA — Police Chief Don Garcia, who has served as the city’s top cop for 15 years, is retiring after 36 years with the police department.

Garcia, 63, whose salary is about $64,000, will leave office June 30.

“At 36 years, it’s time to retire,” Garcia said yesterday.

Recent knee surgery influenced Garcia’s decision to retire, City Manager Sunny Philip said.

“He’s done a wonderful job,” said Mayor Olga Hinojosa Maldonado, a former city commissioner who was elected mayor in May. “We hate to see him go.”

Philip said he has appointed Precinct 5 Constable Cesar Rene Diaz to replace Garcia.

Diaz, who has served as the area’s constable since 2005, was hired Wednesday at a salary of $55,000, city officials said.

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