Law Enforcement is just not a career or a profession but a Life Style!

Ralph Garcia

Ralph Garcia
San Diego (CA) Police Department (Retired with 30 yrs)
Currently at MiraCosta College (CA) Police Department


I was born and raised in Long Branch, New Jersey and grew up in some rough neighborhoods. My mom was a simple person working in what we call now a sweat shop sewing clothes and my father was an auto mechanic (alcohol). My parents divorced when I was 12 years old and my father wasn’t really much of a father dealing with his own demons throughout his life. I married when I was 18 in 1973 and have been married ever since (44 years so far!). I’ve had 4 children and currently have 12 grandchildren.

In 1978, I moved my family to California because I always wanted to be a police officer and police jobs in new Jersey are very limited. In 1979, I was hired by the San Diego Police Department. Starting as a young cop was not a culture shock for me as I grew up in a rough neighborhood. I was immediately assigned to the worst areas of the City and within 2 years, I was ambushed twice, stabbed once and received several commanding officers commendations along with an exemplary performance citation. On one occasion, I entered the home of a domestic violence situation when I observed a man holding a pistol to the head of his wife. Being just feet away from them when I walked in, I jumped him grabbing the revolver placing the web of my hand in between the hammer and pistol preventing him from firing the pistol. I received a Commanding Officer Citation as a result. From that point on because of my performance, I was assigned to every pro-active unit within the City. In 1984, I was selected for SWAT and a few years later, I was a SWAT sniper. I experienced literally hundreds of SWAT missions. In 1986, I was also hired as an adjunct instructor for Heckler & Kock’s International Training Division. During that time, I was honored to have trained some of the most elite teams in the world teaching hostage rescue tactics, train and bus assaults along with sub-machine gun and submachine gun instructor. I remember going to San Francisco to teach Aircraft Assaults and the feds flew in a 747 just for my class! In 1994, the head of H&K’s training division started his own business (Singleton International) and I had the opportunity to work for him till 2009.

In 1988, I was promoted to Sergeant for SDPD and stayed on as SWAT Sergeant having coordinated many man SWAT missions and teaching the SWT academies throughout those years.

Ralph Garcia BCPU Team
Here is my Border team back in 1988 where we patrolled in the night just feet from the Mexican Border. God was with us every step of the way!

In 1988, I was sent to the Border Crime Prevention Unit known at the Border Team. The book ‘Lines & Shadows’ was written after teams prior to me. I trained my team during that time where my team used military style tactics. Within a 2-3 month period, we were involved a 3 shootings with Mexican bandits only feet from the Mexican Border. We were ambushed several times and in one shooting my team fired over 72 rounds in a 22-second firefight killing 3 of the 5 bandits. When our tour was over, we killed 5, wounded 2 and 1 got away. Our team was attributed to an 82% drop in borders crimes. There are several pictures of our teams. It was very very dangerous but perhaps one of my best assignments. You get very close to your officers during these times. As a result of this assignment, I received the ‘Meritorious Service’ medal for my bravery as well as my team.

I worked beach Team assignments and went to the department’s computer unit then moved over the range where I was the Rangemaster till I retired.

I was hired by the MiraCosta College PD as a Sergeant doing investigations and training for a very small community college where I still work.

I want to tell you all that Law Enforcement is not just a career or a profession but a Life Style!!!! You will live it, breath it and your standard of living will be be at a high standard over everybody else. Hold you head up high no matter what. During my career, over 12 of my dear friends were shot and killed.

I had a lot of ups and downs in this life style but I have NO regrets! Within the next few years, I will look back with an accomplishment!

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