Sweetwater Police Chief Roberto Fulgueira is stepping down after more than 30 years with the department.
Fulgueira, who started as a volunteer auxiliary officer and became a full-time officer in 1984, is retiring to spend more time with his family, according to a statement released Thursday by Sweetwater Police spokesman Jorge Fernandez de Lara.
"The men and women of the Sweetwater Police Department wish Chief Roberto Fulgueira best wishes and many more years of good health and many thanks for all he did for the City and the Police Department," Fernandez de Lara said.
Fulgueira, who was Sweetwater's first mounted patrol officer and was a SWAT team sniper, rose through the ranks and became chief in 2005.
Mayor Jose M. Diaz has appointed Deputy Chief Jesus M. Menocal to serve as interim chief until a permanent replacement can be found, Fernandez de Lara said.
Menocal is a 27-year veteran of the Sweetwater Police Department who began his career with the Florida Department of Corrections.
"Sweetwater runs through his blood, he’s always here," Diaz said in a statement. "He’s capable, experienced, he loves the community, and the community loves him too and that’s what we need right now during this transition!"
The news comes just weeks after suspended Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono was arrested on a public corruption charge. Marono has pleaded not guilty.
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