Members of law enforcement agencies often have special bonds because of the work they do, and those relationships result in many police personnel considering those they work with their “family.”
For several members of the Roswell Police Department, the family connection is also literal. In what is likely a fairly unique situation, RPD, with a little more than 100 personnel (law-enforcement commissioned and civilian), has among its ranks six pairs of siblings. Four of those sibling sets are featured here, with brothers and sisters discussing the topics in these five questions:
- Did either of you have an influence on the other when it came to the decision to pursue a law enforcement career and join RPD?
- When you are together off duty, do you find you talk about your work at RPD and other law enforcement topics?
- What do you enjoy about the work you do with RPD?
- What are the challenges you have to deal with in your job?
- What are your thoughts about working in the same police department as your sibling?
(In each photo, individuals are identified left to right.)
Trong Nguyen (right in photo) -- Training Officer, Support Services Division; more than 9 years with RPD
Tan Nguyen -- Sergeant, Patrol Division; more than 6½ years with RPD
1. TRONG: I believe I had an influence on my brother to pursue his career in law enforcement with RPD. I don't think both of us ever thought about being law enforcement officers in the city we were raised in while we were both attending college at the University of New Mexico. I finished college with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and remember him asking me how my classes went. I would eventually apply and get hired on with the Roswell Police Department in 2012. My brother finished with his bachelor’s degree and followed me down here after hearing that I was enjoying what I was doing.
TAN: Trong had more of an influence on me because he was already an officer while I was still in college. Once I obtained my bachelor's degree, I applied for the PD. I remember attending Trong's law-enforcement graduation ceremony and knew I wanted to be there one day, too. When I did graduate from the law-enforcement academy, Trong was even there to present me with my certification along with Chief (Philip) Smith.
2. TRONG: When we are off duty, we try not to talk about work too much. Obviously, when there are major topics that come up in law enforcement or changes that may be going on in the department, we discuss them. I personally enjoy talking about other things besides work when I'm off duty. There's more about life to discuss besides work, such as family, finances and video games.
TAN: Often times we do talk about our daily life in the department and what's been going on in our respective divisions. It isn't like that all the time, though, because we both need a break from work sometimes, even in conversation. We talk a lot of sports.
3. TRONG: I enjoy that I can make an impact in some way. Previously, I was a school resource officer for five years and believed I had an impact on the students in humanizing the badge and building positive relationships and experiences with them. Also building a better relationship between the Roswell Police Department and the Roswell Independent School District to help make schools safer. Currently, I am training new recruit officers and enjoy training them in firearms, defensive tactics, use of force, etc., as well as being good public servants for our community.
TAN: The work at RPD seems endless, but it can be a positive thing because there's always something to do. I do not get complacent on the job.
4. TRONG: I'm always challenging myself to be a better officer and a better person. When taking on the training officer position, I knew I needed to work on my instructional skills. It's easy for me to do most of the tasks that I teach now that I have the training and experience, but definitely knew I could be better at instructing. I enjoy it every day and also ask for feedback from the officers about how I'm performing to make sure I'm doing the best job I can for them.
TAN: Some of the challenges are seeing people on their worst days, especially with any sort of unattended death investigation or suicide. Suicides are difficult to work because of how to investigate the “why” while attempting to comfort the family in the best way I can.
5. TRONG: I don't have any negative issues about it at all. It is nice to see more sets of siblings here than just me and my brother, especially with most of them being raised here in this city. It’s funny because Chief Smith is always asking if I have more family that want to apply here. He definitely values everyone that works for the police department and to have this many sets of siblings want to join shows how much of a family this place can be.
TAN: Sometimes it's difficult because he (Trong) set the bar high when he worked in Patrol prior to me starting with the PD. I was nervous because he was doing so well that I didn't want to be the little brother that wasn't as good. During my tenure with SWAT, it was hard to keep up with him in the shooting and tactics because he was so good at it all. He's always been a role model for me and continues to set the bar high for me. I want to be better than him. (I also work with my fiancée, Shady Garcia, at the department. She is currently a crime scene technician. We have worked together on scenes sometimes so we learn from each other and can relate to each other's work.)
Shady Garcia -- Crime Scene Technician, Technical Services Unit; more than 5 years with RPD
Stormy Garcia -- Police recruit, Patrol Division; 10 months with RPD
1. SHADY: When it came to the decision of joining the Roswell Police Department, a family friend (and now retired RPD member), Lisa Brackeen, encouraged me to apply to as a service aide to get to know the officers and command staff and eventually become a Police Officer with the possibility of joining the crime scene unit in the future. My brother's father-in-law (and now retired RPD officer) Miguel Lopez talked to me about my interests when I was in the process of becoming a police service aide at family dinner one night. I explained my interest and main goal was to be a part of the crime scene unit in this agency and coincidently Miguel was able to talk to me about his experience in this unit as he was a detective in it. From that moment on, I knew this is where I wanted to be. I enjoyed the conversation and guidance Miguel and Lisa were able to give me when I was hired with this agency as a police service aide while I was going to school to obtain my bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Lastly, my uncle Saul Sanchez – I witnessed and looked up to all those officers and detectives who worked to solve his homicide and it helped me decide I want to be in this career field and I want to work among these individuals.
STORMY: My father-in-law just retired from this agency. I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I was also able to see how my little sister, who is employed as a crime scene technician, would respond to callouts and scenes at any given moment's notice. My soon to be brother-in-law, who is employed as a patrol sergeant, encouraged me to do a ride-along before I applied. I did a ride-along and was assigned to go with Officer (Shaye) Duran. I had such an insightful experience with him and getting to see the person behind the badge. I have been influenced by many in this department and I am grateful for what each has brought to my journey so far.
2. SHADY: I have noticed we do spend more time together outside of work now that we are both in the same agency and career field. Our conversation does tend to be work-related, but we still are involved in each other's personal lives at home. I feel working together and being able to relate to each other's days have made us grow a lot closer and we are able to relate to each other more. I have a lot of appreciation for what our police officers do, but now that my brother is a part of this group of individuals, I could not be prouder.
STORMY: I feel my sister and I have gotten a lot closer; we seem to have the same opinions on law enforcement-related topics as we are able to see from both perspectives now.
3. SHADY: I am employed as a civilian with this agency and being able to work around this group of men and women has been very rewarding. The most rewarding part of my job is being a part of a team trying to accomplish the same thing: Justice. Every day is something different, there is nothing routine about day-to-day calls or responsibilities, which has made my job even more of a blessing to me personally. I enjoy the different agencies and people we work with on (crime) scenes. It goes to show it takes many different parts to accomplish the same goal, which builds an appreciation among us for what each of us do.
STORMY: I enjoy that every day is unpredictable. There is nothing repetitive as far as my routine and the calls I will be responding to for the day.
4. SHADY: Growing up and being raised in this community, one of the biggest challenges for me has been dealing with people I may know or have grown up with being victims or suspects in crimes occurring within the town.
STORMY: The most challenging part for me has been dealing with people I have grown up with.
5. SHADY: Working inside of the same police department with my brother is a good thing to me. I feel it has made us closer and, in a sense, more relatable to each other. Not only is it a privilege to work alongside my brother, but also my fiancé and soon to be husband, Sgt. Tan Nguyen. Working in this career field along with a spouse is a bonding experience as I'm sure many other couples around us in our work family can attest to.
STORMY: Working together has made my sister and I closer because we see each other more often aside from family gatherings. We even have had the opportunity to work on (crime) scenes together.
Da’Za’Nique Kidd -- Recruiting Officer, Support Services Division; more than 3 years with RPD
Geovanni Stello -- Police recruit, Patrol Division; 11 months with RPD
1. DA’ZA’NIQUE: I believe I played a huge role in my brother’s decision to pursue law enforcement. After he got out of the military, he pursued a different career and realized it was not for him. He then reached out to me and we talked about how he wanted a career that revolved around brotherhood and camaraderie. I suggested for him to join RPD and he literally put his application in that night. He was living in California at the time and flew out here the next week to begin the testing process. It was his first time ever coming to Roswell. I still remember him doing a ride-along and coming home to tell me this was definitely a career he wanted to pursue.
GEOVANNI: My sister did have an impact on me deciding to pursue a law enforcement career. Once I got out of the military I found out that the career path I was going towards wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until I spoke with my sister, explaining what I want most out of a career – brotherhood, is when she asked me “Why not be a cop?”
2. DA’ZA’NIQUE: Our conversations outside of work usually do not pertain to our career. Every now and again we will talk about an incident, but not too often. We tend to keep our home and work life separate.
GEOVANNI: When off duty, our conversations are usually not about work. I think it’s very important to separate work from home life.
3. DA’ZA’NIQUE: When I was on patrol, I definitely enjoyed the interaction I got to have with our community and youth. I had so many great positive, impactful moments and experiences that made me feel like I definitely made a great career choice for myself. Currently as the recruiting officer, I enjoy talking to new applicants and telling them about the positive interactions I’ve had with the public, as well as the personal growth I have gained while being here.
GEOVANNI: What I enjoy the most about the work I do is being able to interact and provide mentorship from life experience I have gained to help guide kids in the community.
4. DA’ZA’NIQUE: My biggest challenge would undoubtedly be living so far away from family. Me and my brother were born and raised in California and that is where our mom and siblings still reside. It’s hard sometimes missing out on special occasions and holidays due to our work schedule, but we try to visit every opportunity we get.
GEOVANNI: The challenge I have to deal with the most, being so new to Roswell, is getting a good grasp of the area and culture of the people.
5. DA’ZA’NIQUE: I love having my brother work in the same department as me. I enjoy seeing him understand the reason why I have become so passionate about my career. This is just the beginning for him and I can already tell “the bar” is limitless with him. RPD offers so many career advancements and opportunities and he has already showed interest in becoming a SWAT operator. RPD is currently hiring, and siblings are more than welcome to apply together.
GEOVANNI: I enjoy working with my sister. Having been away from family for so long, it’s great to have family close by again.
Mark Fuentes (left in photo) -- Police Officer, Patrol Division; more than 3 years with RPD
Matthew Fuentes -- Police recruit, Patrol Division; more than 1½ years with RPD
1. MARK: I believe I had an influence on Matthew, due to me being older and being able to get hired before him. Being in law enforcement is something we had both wanted to do when we were younger. I think I helped influence him to join RPD by taking him on ride-alongs and showing him what it was like to be in law enforcement.
MATTHEW: My brother Mark was hired with the police department and I do believe he had an influence on me wanting to pursue a career in law enforcement. I have wanted to be a cop since I was a young kid, but I believe with seeing my brother actually go out and become a cop helped me want to pursue it even more. When I got out of high school I was still unsure if I wanted to actually apply, but my brother continued to encourage me to go out and apply. My brother also convinced me to apply with RPD by taking me on ride-alongs and showing me what it was like to patrol the community we grew up in.
2. MARK: When we are together off duty, conversations do bring up work. Right now we work opposite sides of the week. So we’ll talk about what has been happening and keep each other informed on what’s going on.
MATTHEW: Our conversations do bring up work when we are off duty; we like to talk about what has been going on at work to help keep each other informed. We also talk about situations that we encounter at work to help teach each other on how to handle certain situations. My brother and I also like to go over scenarios to help each other learn more, and especially myself, due to him having more experience on the job than I do.
3. MARK: I enjoy serving my community and being able to go out and patrol in the town I grew up in.
MATTHEW: What I enjoy about working at RPD is I get to go out and serve the community that I grew up in my whole life. I like being able to go out and be a part of something bigger than myself.
4. MARK: (No thoughts on this question.)
MATTHEW: The challenge I think I face is sometimes having to learn things on the fly, but I believe having my brother working at the PD with me is a big advantage when it comes to learning for the job.
5. MARK: I enjoy working at the same department as my brother. I think it’s cool that we both get to go patrol the streets together.
MATTHEW: My thoughts on working with my brother at the same police department are positive. I think it is a good thing my brother works with me because he has more training and experience on the job than I do, which benefits me very much.