Decision could come on Nov. 14

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

The City of Orange Grove recently released resume and application material on the Orange Grove Chief of Police candidates following a Public Information request by the Orange Grove Journal on Oct. 23.

There are currently four interview candidates and one applicant being considered by the city council, with the last day for applications today.

City Administrator Rick Lopez said the council wanted to make its decision on a new chief by the next council meeting on Nov. 14. The applicants are:

Rogelio Mendez

Interview candidate Mendez is a patrol sergeant with the Kleberg County Sheriff's Department. From 2002 to 2006, Mendez served as police chief for the San Diego Police Department. As for long term goals, Mendez said he hopes to become a police chief and to be an asset to a community "by providing service and protection, along with establishing adult and juvenile programs."

Mendez holds a Jailer License and a Master Peace Officer certification.

Daniel Jaramillo

Interview candidate Jaramillo is currently the Senior Patrol officer in the Orange Grove Police Department. He is a 1998 graduate of Alice High School and has served with the OGPD since 2001.

For the last five years, he's been a member of the Jim Wells County SWAT Team and worked with the JWC Narcotic Task Force. Jaramillo holds an Intermediate Peace Officer certification. Under long range occupational goals, Jaramillo said, "to be Chief of Police for the Orange Grove PD so that the department can be led in a positive direction."

Karl Van Slooten

Interview candidate Van Slooten is currently a sociology student at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. A Victoria native, Van Slooten served as a patrol deputy/supervisor in the Victoria County Sheriff's Department from 1992 to 2001.

From 2001 to 2002, Van Slooten was a police commander/United Nations police officer in Kosovo, Serbia for DynCorp International. Van Slooten then worked as deputy chief of operations/international police liaison officer for DynCorp International in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Van Slooten holds both a Master Peace Officer certificate and Master Jailer Proficiency Certificate. His long range goals include creating a professional and respected police department.

Gary Graham

Applicant Graham is a former Police Chief of Orange Grove who served from 1986 to 1996. He is currently a patient care attendant for Guardian EMS. As far as long range occupational goals, Graham said in his application that he wanted to reestablish the OGPD as a trustworthy agency.

Graham said he wanted to maintain a community-oriented department willing to serve the citizens of Orange Grove. In his application, under the comments section, he stated that his "present employer may make a better offer." On his resume, Graham said he holds both an Advance Peace Officer certificate and a Peace Officer Instructor certificate.

Jim Long

Interview candidate Long has been a criminal investigator/K-9 handler with the Mathis Police Department since 2004.

From 1999 to 2004, Long served as a Jim Wells County Constable. Long is a graduate of Orange Grove High School. He has TECLOSE Instructor Certification and is both FBI Swat Certified and an FBI Certified sniper. Long is a certified K-9 handler and DEA certification in drug interdiction.

Long said in his application that his long range occupation goals include developing a department that will be respected by the community. He would like to see a strong working relationship with the school district and the general public.