SELMA – New Selma Police Department staff have been hired and an officer was promoted to sergeant officially during a swearing-in ceremony that was part of the Sept. 18 Selma City Council meeting.

Selma Police Chief Greg Garner introduced a new dispatcher, two new officers and announced the promotion of Rene Garza to sergeant.

Here’s his commentary on each staff member

Selma Police Dispatcher Anita Garcia: “The first person I’ll introduce is filling one of the most important positions we have at the department,” Garner said. Garcia was born in Visalia, graduated from Dinuba High School and currently resides in Dinuba. She has two children, Bryan and Brayden. She attended Golden State College as an administrative medical assistant student graduating in 2007.

Selma Police Officer Christopher Ayala: Ayala was born in Hanford and graduated from Dinuba High. He earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno, in criminology. He resides in Dinuba. Ayala is married to Lizzety Villalobos and has a son, Carson. Ayala graduated from the Fresno City College police academy in 2016 and previously worked with the Fresno Police Department.

Selma Police Officer Greg Nitzsche: Nitzsche was born in Fresno and graduated from Clovis High. He earned a  bachelor's in criminology from California State University, Fresno. He lives in Clovis and is married to Alice Nitzsche. He graduated from College of the Sequoias police academy in 2014.

Selma Police Sergeant Rene Garza: “Garza is the first person we’ve been able to promote in almost a decade in the city of Selma,” Garner said. Garza was born in Dinuba and graduated from Dinuba High. He still resides there and is married to Crystal Garza. They have two daughters, Briana and Bailee. Garza graduated from Fresno City College police academy in 2002. He was hired with the Selma Police Department in 2000 as a community service officer. He put himself through the police academy while working full-time as a service officer. He became a full-time sworn officer in 2002.

“[Garza] had some stiff competition and all the people were incredibly qualified and extremely capable of doing the job but Rene was head and shoulders above the others. He interviewed in front of a panel of six subject-matter experts from all over the Valley. I can tell you, and I’ve told Rene, that he won the job. You’re going to be a role model for a lot of people.”

Garza has been with Selma PD for 17 years and marked the occasion by calling the promotion a big life accomplishment.

“It’s going to be a challenge but something I’m looking forward to. I would have never accomplished this if it wasn’t for my past mentors in this agency and my colleagues,” Garza said. He said he’ll live up being a role model by putting the community’s needs first and by leading by example.

“I want my subordinates to know the community comes first. We are servants to the community. We’re here to assist them and that’s number one. We’re here to keep them safe and it starts with the police officers in regards to their positive attitude and how they treat community members.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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