The city’s newest police officer was sworn into office Monday, a first for Turlock’s new public safety center.
Jose Iniguez of Madera took the oath from Deputy City Clerk Stacey Toranelli. A large crowd turned out to watch the ceremony, prompting Police Chief Rob Jackson to jokingly ask Fire Marshal Mark Gomez, who was attending, if the training room was over capacity. The public safety center opened in 2013; this was the first time since then the department has hired an officer, but Jackson hopes to add more soon.
The addition of Iniguez brings the department’s sworn staff to 69.
Jackson said he is looking to hire five more officers. “We are funded for 74 positions,” he said. Most of those will come straight from the police academy; Jackson said he expects the remainder to be lateral transfers from other departments.
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The city’s recent job posting attracted a lot of attention.
“We had 500 applicants,” Jackson said. Those have been winnowed down to about 20, who will be considered for a job.
Iniguez, a father of six who has worked in the medical field for the past 12 years, said he was excited to get started working in Turlock.
“It’s a new beginning,” he said. “I’m grateful to be here.”
After the ceremony, Al Opdyke from the Turlock Police Chaplaincy program presented Iniguez and volunteer Jaszmeera Vaca, also sworn in Monday, with a gift – a chocolate bar, which he referred to as the original power bar.
He promised the bar would help with the “physical, mental and spiritual capabilities essential for law enforcement personnel.” And he suggested to Iniguez, who will start working with a field training officer soon, that “bringing one to your FTO is also a good idea.”