(BCN) — The Lodi Police Department has announced their next chief, who will start early next year after the incumbent head of the city police retires.

City officials said last week that police Capt. Ricardo Garcia, a Lodi native, will be sworn into his new role during a ceremony set to take place on Jan. 2, 2024.

Garcia graduated from Tokay High School in Lodi and was described as someone with special connections to the community, according to Lodi police.

“He has been a champion of community-oriented policing, community engagement, and relationship building,” the police department said. “He led the City’s first Spanish speaking citizen’s academy earlier this year.”

In 2007, Garcia joined the Lodi Police Department and served as a patrol officer, detective, watch commander and support services captain.

“I am incredibly grateful and honored to have been selected as the next Chief of the Lodi Police Department,” Garcia said in a statement. “It’s truly a privilege to have the opportunity to lead such a remarkable organization and the exceptional individuals who work here.”

Lodi Mayor Mikey Hothi, who took part in the first interviews of candidates for the job, feels that Garcia could help represent the people of the city.

“I strongly support Captain Garcia as the next leader of Lodi PD. His dedication to the community, strong relationship skills and humble leadership style are what we need in the next Police Chief,” Hothi said in a statement. “Representation also matters and with Chief Garcia, a new segment of Lodi sees a police chief that represents them.”

Current Chief of Police Sierra Brucia, who has been with the Lodi Police Department since 1994 and was appointed to chief in 2020, will retire on Dec. 31.

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