Former police chief running for Sheriff

Filing documents
Former SBPD chief Michael Galvan is seen filing for his official bid for Cameron County Sheriff at the Democratic Party office in Harlingen.
(Courtesy photo)

Special to the NEWS

San Benito’s former police chief has filed to run for Cameron County Sheriff in 2020.

Michael R. Galvan, who was San Benito’s police chief from 2016 up until October of this year, will be on the Democratic ballot running against long-time incumbent Omar Lucio and former Cameron County District Clerk Eric Garza.

The deadline to file was Monday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. Election Day is slated for Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

In a Wednesday evening phone call, Galvan succinctly explained why he decided to run for Cameron County Sheriff.

“I thought I’d give it a chance,” he said.  “I believe I still have a lot to offer, not just to San Benito, but the County.”

When asked if there was something wrong with the way Lucio has been running things, Galvan said that “from the outside looking in, nothing is really wrong. Lucio is great, but we have to enhance on what he’s built.” For Galvan, that means better equipment, more community outreach, and more accessibility. “It’s all about teamwork,” he said.

He believes “New leadership, safe Cameron County” will be his campaign motto.

When asked if he believed his previous experience in law enforcement will affect his candidacy in a negative way, Galvan emphasized that his experience in law enforcement, from graduating from the academy in 1999 to becoming a San Benito police officer, climbing up through the ranks, speaks for itself.

“It’d be a good opportunity to at least try. It wouldn’t bother me at all if I lost to Lucio,” he said. “I have a lot invested in the community. Even though I was born and raised in Harlingen, my heart is in San Benito.”

Late Monday afternoon, Galvan took to Facebook to share the update. “To all my family and friends, I wanted to let you know that I have filed to run for Cameron County Sheriff,” he stated.

Galvan is one of two individuals challenging Lucio, who was first elected in 1997, then reelected in 2005, totaling almost 20 years as Sheriff. Former Cameron County Clerk Eric Garza is also running for the position.

Galvan’s announcement comes one year after his involvement in the shooting of San Benito resident 21-year-old Ricardo Treviño III. Treviño was fatally shot by law enforcement on Dec. 7, 2018 after a car chase ensued, which Galvan allegedly led in an unmarked vehicle.

In March of this year, San Benito Assistant City Manager Fred Bell was appointed Interim Police Chief, shifting Galvan to Assistant Police Chief while a Texas Rangers (as well as an internal) investigation took place to determine whether law enforcement officials followed policy and protocol in the moments leading to Treviño’s death.

“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,” concluded Galvan’s Facebook announcement.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Dec. 13-19, 2019 issue of the NEWS.

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