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Sullivan City welcomes new police chief

2 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Thursday, May 28 2020 May 28, 2020 May 28, 2020 8:35 PM May 28, 2020 in News - Local
Sullivan City police Chief Joseph D. Cordova, 31, of Mission. (Photo by Dave Hendricks / KRGV.)

Sullivan City welcomed a new police chief Thursday.

The Sullivan City Commission promoted interim police Chief Joseph D. Cordova, 31, of Mission, to the permanent position during a meeting Thursday night at the Sullivan City Volunteer Fire Department.

“The culture here? It’s awesome,” said Cordova, who joined the Sullivan City Police Department in August 2015. “The people here? You’re like family — not just the citizens but the department, along with the city. You work together. It’s just a great thing.”

Cordova became the interim police chief in March, when his mentor, police Chief Richard Ozuna, accepted the top job in Alamo.

“When I was there, I really took him under my wing and guided him as best as I could,” said Ozuna, a former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office captain who helped Sullivan City recover from a series of corruption scandals. “He’s going places.”

Cordova graduated from Mission High School in June 2007, according to Sullivan City personnel records. After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Texas-Pan American and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

The Palmhurst Police Department hired Cordova in May 2014. He lasted less than four months.

Palmhurst fired Cordova “for not reporting for duty” after a scheduling conflict, according to personnel records.

Cordova accepted a job at Mission-based Valley Paving while he searched for another law enforcement position.

Sullivan City offered Cordova a second chance in August 2015. He thrived.

“Due to the fact that we’re so small, everyone — no matter who you are — wears several different hats,” Cordova said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that you can put so much back into the community.”

Sullivan City, which employs nine police officers and four dispatchers, promoted Cordova to sergeant in June 2016.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders,” Ozuna said.

Sullivan City wanted to promote someone from within the department and didn’t solicit applications for the police chief position, said Mayor Leo Garcia.

“I think you’re going to be a hell of a chief,” Garcia said. “I want to thank you for being always there for us.”

City Commissioner Sylvia Castillo recommended Cordova for the permanent position. City Commissioner Adriana Rodriguez agreed.

“We’re very proud of you,” Rodriguez said. “And we hope that you’ll stay with us for quite a while.”

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