New Edinburg Police Chief Jaime Ayala speaks Friday in Edinburg. (Courtesy: City of Edinburg/Facebook)

The city of Edinburg and its police department turned the page to a new chapter at 12:30 p.m. sharp Friday as Jaime Ayala stood as his family looked on as he was sworn in as the new police chief.

Ayala came full circle in his law enforcement career at that point as he returned to his hometown after working for 32 years at the city of Arlington’s police department and now leads the department where he began his career as a dispatcher and reserve officer while attending the University of Texas-Pan American.

“My father and brother are looking down on me, without a doubt, proudly,” Ayala told a crowd of at least 100 while speaking about his Edinburg roots.

The vast majority of that crowd included elected city officials, city staff, candidates and a strong presence of law enforcement agencies from local to state to federal levels, including McAllen chief Victor Rodriguez and Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.

In his remarks, Ayala thanked everyone who attended for supporting him and his family and their support and interest for the city and police department, as well as thanking the city council and Mayor Richard Molina for the support they give city departments and City Manager Ron Garza the search committee that spanned across the country.

“And for giving me the opportunity to lead the Edinburg Police Department,” Ayala said.

The new chief said his latest chapter wouldn’t be possible without the more than three decades he spent serving the city of Arlington’s community.

“Now, none of this would be possible if I did not grow professionally at the Arlington Police Department. I’m so appreciative and proud to have served the Arlington community for more than 32 years. It has prepared me for this day,” he said.

Ayala also lauded interim Chief Peter De La Garza and Assistant Chief Chad Dufner for their leadership and he promised a smooth transition for the department.

“Now, let me talk to the citizens of Edinburg. I want you to know that you will continue to receive great service from the Edinburg Police Department. And we will continue to develop partnerships throughout the city focused on safe neighborhoods, safe roadways and community based, tourism-oriented policing,” he said.

The chief also spoke about the nobility of law enforcement work.

“This profession is a noble profession and in its most difficult of times, remains a noble profession. It takes very special people to serve as first responders; special people who have the highest moral character, integrity and compassion,” he said. “The badge is very heavy and it comes with great responsibility and accountability. And because it is so heavy, it takes all of us to carry the badge.

“I appreciate our community for continuing to back the blue during these difficult times.”

New Edinburg Police Chief Jaime Ayala took the oath of office Friday during a brief ceremony in Edinburg. (Courtesy: City of Edinburg/Facebook)

He also had a message for the employees of the Edinburg Police Department.

“And to the men and women of the Edinburg Police Department, both sworn and professional, I am honored and privileged to join your team. I am anxious to learn how this agency operates and how I will fit in on building greatness for the Edinburg Police Department to continue growing and moving, focused on being an employer of choice and establishing a working environment where everyone loves coming to work and serving selflessly,” Ayala said. “Together we will be the best police department in Texas.

“I expect loyalty to the mission, vision and values of the Edinburg Police Department and to this great city.”

While everyone in the department may have differing views and goals, Ayala said, there is one thing for everybody to remember.

“We should never forget we all wear one patch: the Edinburg Police Department patch. Everything we do will be focused on advancing as one team under one patch,” Ayala said. “May God Bless our police family as we embark on this expedition together. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and I thank you for your service.”

View the full swearing-in and pinning ceremony below:


Application for Edinburg’s new police chief provides details on leadership style