The Tustin Police Department recently celebrated four internal promotions. The officers come from varied backgrounds, but all have spent years devoted to the department and the Tustin community at large.
DEPUTY CHIEF BOB WRIGHT
Bob Wright was promoted to deputy chief in early July. He has been with the Tustin Police Department for 30 years and his official first day was on his 27th birthday.
Since then, he has steadily risen through Tustin’s ranks, getting promoted to sergeant in 2005, lieutenant in 2014 and captain in 2019. He also spent 10 years as a field training officer.
Wright replaces Deputy Chief Jeff Blair, who recently retired after 31 years with the department.
As deputy chief, Wright will act as the right-hand man to Chief Stu Greenberg. His duties will include filling in for Greenberg, handling matters with City Hall and overseeing both civilian and sworn personnel.
“It’s my job to help the department continue to move forward,” Wright said.
Wright’s job will also be assisting the newly promoted captain, Manny Arzate, and others.
“I want to help them with whatever I can to move forward, be comfortable in their positions and eventually take the helm,” he said.
Wright is a lifelong resident of the Tustin area, where he still lives. He grew up in the North Tustin area and graduated from Foothill High School. He is also a graduate of Cal State Fullerton.
CAPTAIN MANNY ARZATE
Manny Arzate, a Tustin police veteran since 2002, was promoted to captain in August.
His prior duties have included serving as a gang detective and sergeant, where he supervised a proactive special enforcement detail targeting high-crime areas.
As a lieutenant since 2017, his duties included serving as north area commander and overseeing the traffic, gang reduction and directed enforcement units.
He served on a committee that helped the department obtain an armored response vehicle and also facilitated getting a special simulator room that provides a training platform to improve officer safety, officer judgment, and response time in high-risk situations.
Arzate said he has also enjoyed participating in the “run with a cop” after-school program at Heideman Elementary School.
As captain, Arzate will have a variety of duties, including overseeing the patrol division, the special operations division of detectives, and the city operations division of traffic, homeless, K-9 and auxiliary units.
Arzate is a Marine Corps veteran who had overseas deployments in Japan and South Korea. He is a graduate of the Palomar College Police Academy in San Marcos and holds a master’s degree in business management from the University of Redlands.
While a lieutenant, Arzate attended a SWAT academy. From October 2019 to December 2019, he also studied at the FBI National Academy in Virginia, learning concepts like media relations, leadership psychology and emotional intelligence. He graduated from the academy’s Class 278.
LIEUTENANT LUIS GARCIA
Luis Garcia was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in August.
Garcia started his career with the South Gate Police Department, where he was a patrol officer, reserve coordinator, motor officer and chief’s adjutant. He joined Tustin in 2002 and has had a variety of roles, including gang unit detective, field training officer, gang unit sergeant and traffic sergeant.
Garcia’s assignments also included K-9 supervisor and fleet coordinator.
Garcia said one of his goals as a lieutenant will be working with the city’s minority community and doing community outreach.
“I want to let them know there’s a voice where they can be heard. That’s important to me,” Garcia said.
He said that community, many of whom speak Spanish, are essential.
“They become people who you trust,” he said. “They trust you. I really enjoy that part.”
SERGEANT ROYCE DEL MERARI
Royce Del Merari was promoted to sergeant in August. He has been with Tustin police since 2011 when he started at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Regional Training Academy. He graduated from the academy in March 2012.
Del Merari began as a patrol officer for about 18 months before working in a special detail as a direct enforcement officer for 10 months.
Del Merari was promoted to detective and assigned to the Regional Narcotics Suppression Program, a special task force of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department operating since 1986. Del Merari served on the task force for more than four years as a narcotics investigator.
In September 2019, Del Merari returned to Tustin patrol and became a field training officer.
As a sergeant, he is now responsible for supervising patrol officers, reviewing reports, making sure calls for service are being handled and addressing citizen concerns.
He said his goals include mentoring and training new officers, as well as serving the community and providing exemplary police services.