Gang expert Marco Garcia leaves schools to join force
After two years of helping combat gang activity at Graham Middle School, Marco Garcia traded in his suit and tie for a police uniform this week.
The former "at-risk intervention supervisor" was to begin training with the police academy on July 10. After getting to know students and the community through his position in the Mountain View Whisman School District, Garcia said it was the perfect time to make the transition to police officer.
"Working at the district has helped me get to know the community in depth," he said. "I know the families and their children, and it will definitely help with my police work."
Garcia, who grew up in Mountain View, came to the district several years ago after the city experienced an increase in gang activity. He worked with at-risk youth, identifying middle school students who were in danger of becoming involved with gangs.
Becoming a cop has been a goal of his, he said, ever since he was a student at Graham and met the police resource officer there.
Administrators said they will miss Garcia, who helped reduce behavioral problems on campus and in the community. They plan to fill his position at Graham for the next school year.
"He was able to work directly with students and make sure that they felt welcome in the school as well as making sure they understood the consequences of any misbehavior," said Mary Lairon, associate superintendent, about Garcia. "Our problems with gang issues significantly lessened over the last two years. I am sure that Marco contributed to that reduction."
While he enjoyed his time on campus, Garcia said he is ready to move on to the police department, where he will make more money. He did research on gang activity on his own time, and patrolled on the weekends and late nights with the police department.
Garcia began the application process in February, and after passing a PolyGram, an interview with the police chief and a physical, he will begin a 10-month course at the police academy.
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