Wichita Falls Police Chief Manuel Borrego recently won the “Hispanic of the Year Award”, but he couldn’t stick around to receive it, as he was called away to handle a briefing regarding the recent flood which swept through parts of Wichita Falls, according to the chief in an interview today, Tuesday, June 30 with Examiner.
“I was honored to receive the award, but I was also shocked,” he said in his office at Wichita Falls Police Department today.
Borrego, who has been with WFPD since 1982, said he was really surprised to receive a call to go over to the Training Center in Wichita Falls. He further said, “Alicia Perez of Telemundo TV for College and Roger Palma of U.S. Cellular called me over there and told me I’d been nominated for the award. I didn’t know if I’d won or not. There were several outstanding people nominated for it that probably deserved it more than me. But I didn’t get word I’d actually won because I had to leave in the middle of the ceremony to conduct a briefing regarding the flood.”
The popular chief attended the banquet along with wife Laura, son Alex and other family members.
The award is named the Zavala Hispanic Cultural Heritage Award.
The chief also visited about a wide-ranging array of topics including Ferguson.
“I think what happened at Ferguson was kind of the last straw in that community. Some felt they weren’t being represented by government as a whole. I wasn’t there so I don’t know if they were or not. And the police were the face of that government, unfortunately,” the combat veteran said.
Borrego has served his nation in the military in Afghanistan.
He further said, “We’re out there to help as well as arrest. Some people don’t like that.”
Asked about what his response was to CNN’s Harris Faulkner’s characterization of the man who attacked the Dallas Police Department as “brave and courageous”, the chief responded as follows: “I was shocked. I hope she did misspeak. She had an opportunity to correct herself, but she didn’t. She could have said, ‘I support law enforcement.’ And that would have been the end of it.”
He also said, “She (Faulkner) and CNN could have done a better job of correcting that statement. She did later say, ‘I apologize if I offended anyone’ and that she ‘misspoke.’ But she never said she supported law enforcement.”
He did praise the Dallas Police Department for doing a “wonderful job. They didn’t pipe in about it. They just left it alone which was good. They let those other departments speak out.”
As for the Wichita Falls Police Department he said, “We want our citizens to support us and we can’t get upset about a few who make negative comments. We represent and defend everybody with a blind eye.”
The chief further gave an update on the WFPD, saying, “We’ve got a lot of new officers. These are changing times. The U.S. Supreme Court and the legislature have made changes. We’ve had a paradigm shift in recent years of focusing on property and drug crimes which affect the entire community.”
Borrego also said, “We’re doing intelligence-based policing. We gather information and turn it over to our officers and detectives. We’ve brought property crimes down in Wichita Falls in the last couple of years. We talk to the district attorney and the judges.”
When asked about the growing hostility police officers across the nation seem to be facing, Borrego said, “There’s a lack of respect for authority by kids and frequently parents back them. up. There’s a heightened alert. We have a checks and balances system of judges, prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys which make sure we don’t violate anyone’s civil rights.”
He also touched on the situation in Baltimore, saying, “Officers are afraid to do their jobs in that part of the country for fear of being prosecuted. I look up North and Northeast and those areas are not like Texas.”
Borrego also said he thought one of the reasons he won the award was because of the great job officers in Wichita Falls are doing in working with and protecting the community.
Wichita Falls is fortunate to have such an intelligent man serving as its Chief of Police. Hopefully, Borrego will remain in his position for many years to come.