SAN BENITO — The night before the candidates’ filing deadline, former Police Chief Michael Galvan announced he was running for Cameron County sheriff in the March primary election.
“I gave it a lot of thought,” Galvan said yesterday.
Two months after a grand jury found he and three other law enforcement officers were justified in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Ricardo Treviño in December 2018, Galvan made what he called “the most important decision” of his career.
On Tuesday, he filed to run in the Democratic primary against longtime Sheriff Omar Lucio and former district clerk Eric Garza for the county’s top law enforcement job.
“I want to give new leadership for a safe Cameron County,” Galvan said.
At about 7:30 p.m. Monday, Galvan announced his plans on Facebook.
“I believe this is the most important decision I have had to make in all my 19 years as a Texas peace officer,” Galvan posted on Facebook. “We can build more trust through transparency, accountability, communication and teamwork between law enforcement and members of the community. I am looking forward to leading the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department into a new era.”
Nearly 400 friends supported his decision.
“Phenomenal,” Ida Rodriguez posted. “You’re a great candidate for this position — God bless.”
Star Briel Jones called him the best man for the job.
“You have my full support, my friend, and you would be the absolute best sheriff,” the attorney posted.
Yesterday, Galvan vowed to make the sheriff’s office more “accessible” to residents.
“I’m here for them — I’m accessible for them,” Galvan said. “I want to see they get the services they want.”
Galvan, who serves on Palm Valley’s city council, enters the sheriff’s race with 19 years of law enforcement experience.
A 1999 graduate of the University of Texas at Brownsville’s police academy, he joined the San Benito Police Department in 2000, climbing the ranks to the top job after serving as a K-9 handler, SWAT team operator and internal affairs investigator.
Since 2008, he also served as the city’s emergency management coordinator.
In 2016, he was named police chief after serving about five years as assistant chief.
Late last year, Treviño’s fatal shooting shook the department.
The Dec. 7, 2018, shooting led the Texas Rangers to launch a nine-month criminal investigation while the San Benito Police Department conducted an internal affairs probe — each routine following a police-involved shooting fatality.
Then last March, the police department began its probe to determine whether officers involved in the shooting violated policy and procedures during the events that led to the shooting.
To conduct their investigation, officials reassigned Galvan to assistant chief, appointing City Manager Fred Bell to the serve as interim chief.
After officials completed their investigation in June, Bell reprimanded Galvan for discharging a firearm at Treviño’s car in an attempt to stop the vehicle during a 22-mile pursuit, Alex Guajardo, Galvan’s attorney, has said.
In September, a grand jury found Galvan, a San Benito officer and two Precinct 5 deputy constables were justified in using deadly force to shoot Treviño after a 22-mile pursuit ended in El Ranchito.
After the grand jury handed down its decision, District Attorney Luis Saenz said officers shot Treviño, who was unarmed, because he was reversing his car in a direction that threatened officers on the scene.
In October, Bell reassigned Galvan to a lieutenant’s rank — the rank he held before he took the chief’s job about three years ago.