SAN JUAN — There’s a new chief in town.

The city of San Juan announced Tuesday that Ruben Morin, who started his voluminous law enforcement career with the San Juan Police Department in 1993, as their new chief of police.

“It was his professionalism, the integrity that the guy has, the fact that he has been with law enforcement for so many years,” City Manager Ben Arjona said about what set Morin apart from the other candidates for the chief of police position. “Pretty much overall, it was a very tough decision as to who to choose from.”

The pool of applicants was narrowed down to three, which Arjona said was difficult in itself. Choosing the top candidate to fill former Chief Juan Gonzalez’s position was no easy task, but Morin proved to be a standout choice.

“There’s always got to be that one guy who sticks out from the rest of them, and that was Mr. Morin,” Arjona said.

Arjona said that he hopes that Morin will bring more visibility to the department. On Friday, sitting in his new office, Morin said that is precisely what he intends to do.

Born and raised in Pharr and a graduate of PSJA High, Morin described the opportunity to lead the department as a dream come true.

Morin and his family had been living in San Antonio when he retired from the Texas Department of Public Safety in February. He had just been hired at the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office as an investigator with its new Civil Rights Squad.

Two days later, San Juan called to offer him the chief of police position, his dream job. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“It’s where I started,” Morin said. “This is what gave me my career. Chief Jorge Arcaute gave me the opportunity — opened the door for me. Back then it was hard to get hired. It was a small agency. They didn’t have that much manpower. When San Juan gave me the opportunity, I jumped on it.”

Morin said that he feels blessed with the opportunities he was afforded throughout his life. He said that he intends to use the department, which he said molded him into the person he is today, as a channel to give back to the community.

“You’re vested to this community,” Morin said. “My wife (Mary) and I always talked about it, if there’s a chance, I would like to come back as a chief and pay back what was given to me — give back to the community.”

The new chief has extensive experience working in various narcotics and gang task forces throughout his law enforcement career. Along with that experience, he intends to bring transparency to the department in the form of community partnership programs and possible bike patrol units.

His first foray in establishing that police visibility started Saturday with the city’s Blue Santa Toy Giveaway, which collected and distributed over 2,000 toys to local children.

“You always, as the supervisor or the chief, you want to take it to the next level, but we need to identify where we’re at right now,” Morin said. “I’m trying to identify where our strong points are and the areas where we can improve. There’s always room for improvement.”

Morin expressed gratitude toward Arjona and the city commissioners for granting him the opportunity to come home to his original police department.

“I was given this opportunity, and I’m so blessed — so humbled,” Morin said. “My wife (Mary) and I were very emotional that day when we got the call because it meant a lot. It was not just a job to me. It was coming back to my community and giving back to them. This police department means a lot to me, just like our citizens.”

“We belong to the citizens,” he continued. “This police department is not my police department. It’s not San Juan’s police department. It belongs to the citizens of San Juan. That’s the message that hopefully throughout the years I’ll convey to them. We are at their service.”