By MARTHA McCLAIN
Robert McGinnis is the Town’s police and fire chief, as well as its emergency management coordinator.
He’s also lead instructor at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council’s Regional Police Academy and Training Center’s Night Academy, which provides basic peace officer certification preparing most police cadets who enter as rookies in departments across South Texas.
A native of La Feria, his career began as a reserve officer in the Village of Laguna Vista, before hiring-on at the nearby communities of South Padre Island and Rancho Viejo. Today, he oversees a department of seven fulltime certified police officers and four reserve officers in a rapidly-growing community.
In September, he accepted an expansion of duties, when he took-on the fire chief role, leading an unpaid volunteer fire-fighting force of 18.
An advocate of education and training, McGinnis’ immediate goal is to break old traditions and grow the department into one with a high percentage of certified firefighters.
“It’s a building experience,” McGinnis said. “We are well behind, but we are working on improving it.”
For more on this story, pick up a copy of the Apr. 21 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here.