San Juan appoints interim police chief as investigation proceeds

Leandro Sifuentes

The city of San Juan appointed an interim chief of police as an investigation into suspended Police Chief Ruben Morin remains ongoing.

The city held a special called meeting Monday at noon in which Leandro Sifuentes was named the interim police chief.

There were two items on Monday’s agenda, one of which was the discussion regarding qualifications for the ​​Agent of Record for Employee Health Insurance and Voluntary Products position.

“The second item was to appoint an interim police chief,” Mayor Mario Garza said.

Morin remains on administrative leave with pay following a meeting held Sept. 27. The city is currently investigating claims that Morin targeted officers after he received unfavorable results from a Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) survey.

“He’s still on suspension,” Garza said. “The individual we appointed is basically going to oversee the duties of the chief. It’s not saying that Chief Morin has been suspended indefinitely or anything like that. He’s still on administrative leave for a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 30 days.”

During the Sep. 27 meeting, ​​Commissioners Adina “Dina” Santillan and Ernesto “Neto” Guajardo voted to place Morin on administrative leave following a motion made by Mayor Pro-Tem Leonardo “Lenny” Sanchez. Mayor Mario Garza and Commissioner Marco “Markie” Villegas abstained from voting — both saying they have yet to review the survey.

When asked about the status of the investigation Wednesday, Garza said that he still has yet to view the survey in question. He emphasized that the survey was not conducted by the city but by the TMPA.

“I still haven’t yet,” Garza said. “I’m still waiting on the representative for TMPA, Mr. J.P. Rodriguez. I’m just waiting for him to give me a call and see when he has time so that way we can sit down and I can look at the survey.”

San Juan Police Chief Ruben Morin was placed on administrative leave with pay during a city commission meeting Tuesday evening, Sept. 27, 2022. (Francisco E. Jimenez | [email protected])

“Just for the record, that survey doesn’t belong to the city,” he continued. “It belongs to the TMPA union.”

Following the outcome of the Sep. 27 meeting, Morin expressed confidence in the result of the investigation.

“I’m not worried about that,” Morin said after the meeting. “I’m very confident that once this investigation has been conducted by the city manager, I’m very confident that I’m going to come out on top of this. I know what I’ve been doing with this police department, and it’s all about respecting each other.”


San Juan police chief suspended with pay