After more than 30 years of serving, Sgt. Gonzalez retires from - FOX34 Lubbock

After more than 30 years of serving, Sgt. Gonzalez retires from DPS

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Most know him as "Trooper John", even after his promotion.

Sgt. John Gonzales has played many roles through his career at DPS since he started in the late '80's. He said maintaining relationships and showing a different side of law enforcement has served his passion for safety education.

"Ever since I was a kid I was always interested in policing and then when I got into high school I started looking at the different agencies that were available then at the time, because I knew at some point in time that's really what I wanted," Gonzalez said.

Sgt. Gonzalez began his career with DPS when he was 23. Over his career he's served in highway patrol, public information and safety education.

"This position being educational a lot of people call, you know, hey can you help us with this, can you teach us this, can you come talk to us about this. And so, I've done so many speaking engagements throughout the years that has given me the opportunity to formulate those friendships outside of these walls and continue to have them," he said.

He added serving people in West Texas is what's kept him around.

"It's always been about helping and this is not just about putting somebody in jail," he said, "it's about trying to help them resolve some of those issues, you know, without going beyond those extremes."

Lt. Bryan Witt and Sgt. Gonzalez have been friends for 25 years and have worked together for the last six. Witt said he admires Gonzalez's work ethic and compassion.  

"What John Gonzalez has done throughout the years, through his safety programs, meeting with civic organizations, to change attitudes and behaviors in some of these kids lives, you wouldn't be able to count the number of lives he's probably changed or the lives he's possibly saved," Witt said.

Gonzales has used his work in the different departments to build relationships he says help the department better serve Texans.

  "So, a lot of the good comes from you know, just making regular contact with people and just showing, you know, that we're just ordinary people just like anybody else," Gonzalez said. "It's just that we're designed to do something different that some people don't want to do on a regular basis."  

Witt said Gonzalez puts in the effort to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the citizens it protects and serves. 

"I know he has built a great relationship with some of the leaders of this community. Not only with them but with the school administrations throughout this county," Witt said. "He has been a bridge with DPS and the community to let them know exactly what we do and what we're here for. And we are here to serve our communities."

Sgt. Gonzalez will retire at the end of this month. He plans on staying in Lubbock and looks forward to spending time with his wife Connie.

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