Meet Crime Prevention Officer Ruby Garcia

cb-10-20-ruby-garciaRuby Garcia joined the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) as a Crime Prevention Officer this past May. She has fallen in love with her new career in a relatively short amount of time.

After graduating from Lely High School, Garcia enrolled at Edison Community College and received her A.A. degree. Although she always “knew she wanted to be a police officer”, Garcia made the decision stay at home and start her family before entering law enforcement.

Officer Garcia is married to David Garcia and together they have three sons. Formerly a native and resident of Naples, FL, Garcia and her family recently moved to LaBelle when she was hired by the HCSO. She says that “LaBelle is great” and she is “blessed to have her family near so that they can spend more time together”. She believes it was “definitely God’s will for her to be where she is today”.

Five months ago, Garcia applied for a position as a Crime Prevention Officer with the Hendry County Sheriff’s department. Once she was an official hire, she began traveling to Palm Beach County to take several classes so that she could obtain her Crime Prevention Officer certificate. Officer Garcia is now proudly certified in Crime Prevention and loving every minute of her new career.

Dedicated to making the local crime prevention program a success, Officer Garcia will soon be working with the Southwest Florida Crime Prevention Associations of Lee and Collier counties. This will allow her to work closely with other agencies while brainstorming ideas about crime prevention, bettering communities and implementing ways to keep Hendry County neighborhoods safe.

When asked to describe “A Day in the Life of Officer Ruby Garcia”, this officer had a laundry list of daily duties. Each morning after checking her mail and grabbing some coffee, she talks with HCSO road patrol officers to see what is happening in Hendry County. This communication with other officers helps her chart out her day allowing her to know which businesses, neighborhoods or citizens might be in need of a friendly visit.

Officer Garcia is also in charge of setting up neighborhood watch meetings within the local community. Here, she takes the opportunity to meet with citizens and discuss any concerns they might be having. She also shows the residents that she and other law enforcement officers should not be feared. Building a good rapport and a foundation of trust among the people and officers is one of her main priorities.

One of her favorite parts about the job is going door to door and introducing herself to residents throughout Hendry County. Officer Garcia says that “because I’m knew to the community the best way for people to get to know me is by getting out and meeting the residents and the businesses”. She has been getting a great deal of encouraging feedback about the crime prevention program from the community, and is excited about shedding some positive light on law enforcement officers.

There are times when residents may be frightened to contact the sheriff’s department when a problem arises in their neighborhood. That’s where Officer Garcia hopes the positive relationships she is building with community members will help. If citizens see or hear of something going on in their neighborhood that makes them feel uneasy, Garcia urges them to contact her so that she and the HCSO can do further investigating if needed. She stated that “they are the eyes and the ears of their neighborhoods”. Of course, if there is an immediate and serious emergency she asks that people call 9-1-1.

Recently, Officer Garcia noticed a young family walking down the road. She pulled over, stopped her car, got out and struck up a friendly conversation. She could sense that they were nervous, but she quickly reassured them that she was not a threat and that she just wanted to introduce herself. After a little dialogue, she asked the parents if it was okay for her to give the children a small stuffed animal. That brief exchange made a lasting impression on a few local residents who may have otherwise had a negative impression about law enforcement.

Ruby Garcia is bilingual, and has literature available in both English and Spanish. She spends time working on both sides of the county. For further information, please call 863-674-5600 or email rggarcia@hendrysheriff.org.

With the ongoing news coverage of police shootings in this nation and the negative attitude toward the police nationwide, the staff of the Caloosa Belle has decided to show our support to the men and women of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Department who protect us every day. In the following weeks we will be introducing you to them and letting you know what they do to keep you safe every day.

Amanda can be reached at cbnews@newszap.com

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