GONZALES — Officer Manuel Puga was introduced as the newest member of Gonzales Police Department last month.
Puga was sworn in by Chief of Police Keith Wise in a closed ceremony March 22. He began his first shift the next day.
His field training officer (FTO) is Alex Pruneda, and Puga will rotate between FTOs during his 16-week training program.
“Due to the pandemic and safety protocols in place, social distancing was a factor and prevented members of the public being present when his badge was given to him,” Wise said. “We were able to post some photos on our social media outlets for family and friends to see.”
He said Puga has been proud to serve Gonzales and met with members of the community, showing his eagerness to serve people everyday.
“Officer Puga enjoys the opportunity to interact with the public on each and every shift he works,” Wise said.
One of Puga’s first duties was assisting with the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at the Gonzales Police Department on April 24.
“He is looking forward to the engagement opportunity with folks,” Wise said.
Puga previously served with a Northern California agency before coming to Gonzales. He has expressed an interest in always wanting to pursue a career in law enforcement. His non-policing interests include soccer and reading.
“Officer Puga was not raised in Gonzales but has lived in the regional area for the better part of his life,” Wise said.
GPD currently has some open officer positions and is recruiting for officers. Wise said applicants should want to serve and work with and for the Gonzales community.
Applications can be requested through City Hall or downloaded online through the city or police department website or by calling 831-675-5010.
“We will be happy to discuss the process and assist along the way for anyone interested,” Wise said.