EDINBURG - The new Assistant Police Chief Juan Hernandez fought back the tears as he began to address family, friends and colleagues at city hall.

Hernandez, 40, admittedly said the new promotion had not sunk in, but offered thanks along with some goals he hopes to implement given the opportunity. The Edinburg-native has been in law enforcement since 1998. He began his career as a detention officer with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's department, became a police officer in 2001 working grave yard shifts while attending the police academy during the day.

Moving up the ranks with the Hidalgo Police Department becoming an investigator and detective, Hernandez saw an opportunity to move back home in 2008.

For Hernandez, his goals are to help boost morale and begin a school resource program that would grow and expand the Edinburg Police Department name.

“We could have our officers in the schools that do not have their own police departments,” Hernandez said. “Schools like IDEA, BETA and Vanguard to help protect the students, the staff, everybody.”

Hernandez reiterated his goals are just in a planning stage but hopes to accomplish.

Edinburg Police Chief Cesar Torres said lately the department has been scrutinized lately in the media but take responsibilities to address challenges and shortcomings. He continued by saying no is harder on the department than the members themselves.

Currently the police department is in the midst of ambitious initiatives to determine what crime and disorder each neighborhood faces. The initiative is called Neighborhood Viewpoint, it was created by the department and crime watch.

“This expresses our philosophy that every neighborhood has different needs and priorities,” Torres said. “Also police services need to be delivered in a way that is responsive to our community.”

Torres is currently restructuring the police department to help clarify where exactly each department and division falls in line. He is going back to the drawing board to make sure the proper staff is in place and to make sure the proper chief is using his particular experience for certain fields.

The Edinburg Police Department carries two police chiefs, Hernandez will oversee the patrol and criminal investigation divisions.