San Juan police chief earns his bachelor degree from South Texas College
As one of 12 children, current San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez says there wasn't a lot of emphasis placed on attending college among his siblings growing up.
Instead, a strong work ethic and being able to support a family was paramount, and it prompted him to enter a career as a peace officer in the late 1980s.
Now more than 30 years later, Gonzalez says he has come full circle. After entering South Texas College in 2016, he said he takes special pride in being the only one in his family to earn a bachelor degree.
Chief Gonzalez graduated from STC in December with a bachelor degree in Organizational Leadership. Returning to college after more than 30 years, Gonzalez says he was inspired by his daughter who graduated from college in 2017.
“It was a perfect match for me with the timing to attend college at STC, and I think it was a very rewarding feeling as well as a great accomplishment and experience being able to accomplish what I wanted to do.”
“The last time I was in college was back in 1988 at Texas Southmost in Brownsville,” said Gonzalez, and utilized online courses to balance work and school. “I had been looking into different types of colleges and I was especially looking for something that was conducive for me so I could manage my career and go to school at the same time.
“It was a perfect match for me with the timing to attend college at STC, and I think it was a very rewarding feeling as well as a great accomplishment and experience being able to accomplish what I wanted to do,” he said. “I also thank my wife and daughter for all the support they gave me to balance work and college at the same time.”
In his professional life, Chief Gonzalez is an FBI National Academy graduate, master peace officer, certified public manager, and a National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) Command college graduate.
He is currently an executive board member for both the Texas Police Chiefs Association and Rio Grande Valley Law Enforcement Police Chief’s Coalition, and regional commander for San Juan’s Law Enforcement Emergency Regional Response Team (LEERT).
Now finished with his bachelor’s degree at South Texas College, Gonzalez says he will continue his education by pursuing his master’s degree in Business Management from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
“You know I had some apprehension at first because I didn’t even know if it was even going to work for me or not but I think what really helped me was the college staff, from registration to admissions through the testing and curriculum, everybody was just so encouraging and I found that to be very helpful,” Gonzalez said. “At no point did anyone discourage me, rather they encouraged me to take a chance for my education and I followed their guidance.”