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Ruben Chavez

GUSTINE - A new chief is on board at the Gustine Police Department.

Ruben Chavez was sworn in as Gustine’s chief of police last Tuesday.

He comes to the West Side from Livingston, where he was police chief for the past eight years.

During that time he came to know Doug Dunford, who is currently Gustine’s city manager, and Samuel Joseph, who is currently a lieutenant in the Gustine Police Department, when they were also chiefs....Dunford in Gustine and Joseph in Atwater.

“I thought it would be a dream team to work with,” Chavez told Mattos Newspapers. “They have done some great things here in Gustine, and I hope to work alongside them to keep that going.

“I always loved Gustine,” Chavez added. “I had an aunt who worked at the Coast to Coast hardware store, and I used to stop to visit her quite often.”

Chavez said he hopes to expand the department as the city grows.

“It is a great department with some great people. I want to see what we can do to keep the community safe, and hope to incorporate some programs to work closer with the schools, especially the elementary schools,” he explained. “One of my passions is developing programs to work with the youth.”

Chavez traces his law enforcement roots back to his teen years. He was a Police Explorer who started as a part-time intern with the Milpitas Police Department.

“When I turned 21 in 1981 I applied for the San Jose Police Department, and I was hired in June 1982,” Chavez said. He spent 28 years as a full-time officer in San Jose, rising to the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 2010. Chavez stayed on as a reserve for SJPD while working as a lieutenant for San Jose City College. Chavez, who holds a masters degree in criminal justice, decided to explore other opportunities and was hired as Livingston’s chief in March 2012.

He wrapped up those duties last Monday, and the following day became Gustine’s top law enforcement officer.

Joseph, who was leading the department on an interim basis for the past several months in the absence of a police chief, will continue to have responsibility for overseeing day-to-day operations while Chavez assumes overall administrative responsibilities.

“He is a good fit for the department,” Dunford said of the new chief. “He brings over eight years of experience in the city of Livingston and did tremendous outreach programs there. You will see more things happening in the police department in a positive way, I think.”

Chavez said he is looking forward to his new role.

“I’m honored and blessed by the opportunity to work for our mayor, council, city manager and people of Gustine,” he concluded.