Sgt. Aniceto "Cheto" Perez, newly appointed Interim Police Chief for the Alice Police Department, said becoming the new Police Chief has always been his dream.
"This is my dream to become chief," Perez said.
Perez is a 37-year veteran of the department who was born and raised in San Diego. He has been married to his wife, Jo Ann, for 34 years. Together, they have two children, Sabrina and Aaren, and a 3-year-old grandson.
He graduated from San Diego High School in 1978 and began his law enforcement career soon after graduation.
“I am pleased to appoint Sergeant Cheto Perez today as our interim Police Chief following the retirement of Police Chief Rex Ramon, who served the city honorably and dedicated almost 30 years of service to the City of Alice, four of which were as our Police Chief,” said Alice City Manager Michael Esparza. “Sergeant Perez has career experience working in patrol, dispatch, as a detective, in narcotics, as a jailer and most recently as our training coordinator and I am confident in Sergeant Perez’s ability to lead the Police Department until we find a permanent Police Chief.”
"I was ecstatic (to learn I'd be interim chief)...," Perez said. "That's why I educate myself, have people skills and communication skills. I've always been involved in administration."
He attended Del Mar College and Bee County College (now Coastal Bend College) to get his associate in administration. He transferred to Texas A&I University in Kingsville and earned his Criminal Justice degree.
Perez started as a jailer and dispatcher at the Duval County Sheriff's Office. He joined the Alice Police Department a year later. He climbed the ranks and has been the right hand of several chiefs over the last 25 years. He has over 11,000 training and educational hours through the state, not including his college degrees.
"I've learned the good and the bad from all my previous chiefs," Perez stated. "I've learned quite a bit from them. Each chief had a different personality with different objectives for the department."
"I want to create the new vision of law enforcement...To have more communication with the public and being sympathetic to their needs," he stated. "I want (the officers) to care. We don't want the negativity that we see every time we turn on the TV, every time we open the internet, every time you open your phone. There's always something about some officer and what he did wrong..."
Over the years, Perez has learned to be responsible, accountable and not shut out officers.
"I want to be open-minded with the officers and support staff because they are the backbone of the police department. It's not about "I". I'm not an "I" man, I'm a team player," Perez said.
Perez has been working as the training coordinator since 2006. He will use his training to help reach his goal for the betterment of the department.
Perez understands that knowledge is important. Part of the learning and training he conducts with his officers and himself is because "officers are here to serve and protect" the community.
"Times are changing. You don't have the same 13, 14, 16-year-olds that you deal with every day. You have different generations from the baby boomers to the new millennials. Everybody's changed. Technology changes everyday. That's why you want to be educated. You don't want to stay behind," he said.
Perez is vying for the permanent position and appreciates the city and the community for their confidence in him.