EDINBURG, RGV – Edinburg Police Chief Rolando Castañeda announced his retirement at a city council meeting on Tuesday evening.
The veteran law enforcement official said he would step down on July 31. He made the announcement in the public comment section of the meeting. Traditionally, the mayor and city councilmembers do not respond to remarks made in the public comment section.
Before leaving the city hall chamber, Castañeda told the Rio Grande Guardian that he was pleased to have achieved his five year plan for Edinburg Police Department inside four years. He took over as police chief in May 2011, replacing Quirino Muñoz, who had retired the previous October.
Before becoming police chief, Castañeda served for 30 years as a DPS trooper and Texas Ranger.
“The city of Edinburg is the best it has ever been. The crime is low. The police officers are working hard. We have 143 police officers who are doing everything possible to keep our city safe. Just because I leave doesn’t mean they’re going to stop doing that,” Castañeda told the Rio Grande Guardian, in an exclusive interview.
“It has been wonderful (here). It has been hard. I have 200 different personalities. I learned a professional adapts to change. I learned to do that. It was very rewarding to me but the thing I’m happiest the most about is I’m going home. It has been seven years since I lived at home. It’s time for me to go home.”
When Castañeda started with Edinburg he said he would stress the importance of integrity to his officers and staff. “I want to stress integrity, making sure we do the right thing all the time, even when people aren’t looking,” Castañeda told the Valley Voice newspaper at the time. “We want to work on our candor, and making sure the truth is always done and always spoken of. I don’t think Edinburg has that problem, but I want to emphasize that as a public servant, integrity is the most important aspect of a police officer, doing the right thing all the time.”
Castañeda told the Edinburg Review at the time: “Law enforcement, no matter if you’re a Ranger or Edinburg Police officer, we’re public servants. We’re here to serve the people. I instill in my guys that, regardless of the circumstances, for example the victims of violent crime, we work for the victims because they want to know the answers. They want to know what happened to their loved ones. My philosophy is ‘we work for the people’, and in my case as chief of Edinburg police, that would be for the citizens of Edinburg.”
Castañeda was born in Laredo and grew up in Corpus Christi, graduating from Tuloso-Midway High School. Following school, he served in the Marine Corps as a certified military police officer and intelligence analyst from 1974 to 1976.
Castañeda began his career in 1978 as a DPS trooper assigned to the Texas Highway Patrol Office in Rio Grande City. In 1992 Castañeda was appointed to the DPS specialized Narcotics Service Unit as a sergeant and investigator. In 1995 he became a sergeant with the Texas Rangers Division and was promoted to lieutenant in 2008. He was assigned to Company “G,” which covered the area from Del Rio to Brownsville and north to San Patricio.
Prior to joining Edinburg Police Department, Castañeda had more than 3,000 hours of training in traffic law, criminal law, management, computer crimes, crime scene search, collection and preservation of evidence, forensic photography, latent prints, interview and interrogation techniques, homicide and other felony investigations, and swat training. Additionally, he holds a Master Peace Officer’s License, is a firearms and classroom TCLEOSE instructor, a lead hostage negotiator, and a lead coordinator reference for the physical readiness test given to DPS Commission officers.
Castañeda attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Pan American University Brownsville in 1984, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974-1976, where he received specialized training in military police work and in the area of intelligence.