SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Friday was a historic day for the City of Sarasota. Officials swore in the city’s first ever Hispanic chief of police.

Rex Troche joined the Sarasota Police Department in 2002. Over the years, he’s worked in all four agency divisions including patrol, professional standards, criminal investigations and support services. He climbed through the ranks over the years from sergeant in 2013, to lieutenant in 2017 and captain in 2020. In 2021, he was appointed as deputy chief.

City Manager Marlon Brown appointed Troche as chief of police after “interviewing” him over the last eight months.

“He has been the interim chief for the last eight months, interviewing for the job over those eight months. One of the things that I really wanted to do was to really get a sense from the community what they wanted in a chief before I made that decision and to just more or less reinforce that we had the right person that we could promote from within,” said Brown. “The community was great. We had over 55 organizations that responded to our survey. We met with both unions, they gave us their feedback and lo and behold we had that individual right here within the department.”

Troche’s family was by his side was he was sworn in Friday morning.

“You saw the emotions that were pretty raw for me. That is really how I feel. This is a family for me. I was brought up in this. My father was a Chicago police officer for 24 years,” said Chief Troche. “This has always been the fabric of who I am. This is not a job for me, this is a lifestyle. This is who we are.”

Troche’s parents moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. His family roots make him the city’s first Hispanic police chief.

Sarasota’s current mayor, Erik Arroyo, is also the city’s first Hispanic mayor.

“We are a very diverse city and it is reflected in our leadership,” said Mayor Arroyo.

The city’s new chief aims to continue the agency’s efforts at community policing, utilizing new technology, and diversifying the department.

“We want to be a reflection of our community because I believe that everybody should have a place at the table, everybody should have some input on what we are trying to do, so that is the best way to do it,” said Chief Troche.