The Oklahoma City Police Department and one of its employees made history. A promotion ceremony was held on Thursday for the city's first ever Hispanic Deputy Chief Paco Balderrama.
He is often mistaken in the community as the head of the police department.
“Most people think Paco is the chief of police,” said Chief Bill Citty, Oklahoma City Police Department. “Because he’s been on media so much.”
Citty said that is just one of many reasons Balderrama was chosen to serve as one of four Deputy Chiefs.
“I’ve always said good leaders have a combination of heart and head,” said Citty. “He’s got both of those.”
Balderrama stepped into the new rank with his wife and children by his side.
“It’s an important day for me,” said Deputy Chief Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Department. “And it’s a big day for my family.”
He will now take command of the department's Operation Central.
“It’s basically the southwest division,” said Balderrama. “Uniform support, Bricktown and then all of the emergency services. So that includes our SWAT team, our bomb techs, our motorcycle unit and all the specialized units. Our helicopter unit.”
Balderrama has climbed the ranks from rookie patrol officer, to most recently being promoted to Major in 2017.
“It’s been a lot of different jobs,” said Balderrama. “But I’ve tried to take 110% out of each one of those.”
And breaking barriers along the way.
“I’ve had youngsters in high school tell me,” said Balderrama. “Look I didn’t know Latinos could be police officers.”
As the first ever Hispanic deputy chief for the department, Balderrama said he is ready for the responsibility and challenges of his new job.
“It’s very humbling,” said Balderrama. “I feel a huge sense of responsibility.”
Balderrama's twin brother also serves on the department. They entered the force on the same day 20 years ago.