Poteet Police Lt. Frank Leal is retiring after 34 1/2 years of dedicated service, with the Poteet Police Department.
April 25 marked his official last day, which the City of Poteet proclaimed as “Lt. Frank Garcia Leal Day.”
A Poteet native and 1975 graduate of Poteet High School, Leal began his career with the department as a Reserve Officer in 1983. He then moved on to part-time and was later promoted to Cpl.
In April of 1992, Leal became Poteet Police Chief. He remained Chief until 2006. Leal was also interim police chief about six times.
Leal had always thought about a career in law enforcement, but it took encouragement from former Police Chief J.R. Spence.
“I used to work at the school at that time and there were several fire alarm calls. I would show up because I had the keys to the rooms. J.R. was wondering, ‘How come you are doing it every time we get a call?’ There were also several bomb threats back then,” Leal said.
The two talked and Spence registered Leal to attend San Antonio College as a Reserve.
Serving in law enforcement has its ups and downs, explained Leal.
“It has its good times and critical times, especially when there are shootings and people dying. There are wrecks where you know the people and they pass away,” Leal said. “Back then we struggled with equipment, cars, things like that. I have seen a lot of officers come and go throughout the years.”
Leal always knew to treat everyone the same, regardless of whether or not he knew them.
“If you show respect, you get respect back, no matter what the circumstances are or who that person is,” Leal said.
He understands that sometimes a few here and there will disagree, but that is just part of the job.
“I always try to be fair with everybody, but it is always a learning process because you are never going to know everything.”
When it comes to being a police officer, what Leal has enjoyed the most is being able to work with people and help them out whenever possible. He has especially liked getting to know the residents.
“I was very comfortable here and I enjoyed the people that I talked to. That made me want to stay around,” Leal said.
As far as Leal knows, he has served the longest duration with the Poteet Police Department.
Leal is thankful to Poteet Police Chief Bruce Hickman and his work in obtaining the proper equipment and modern technology needed.
Now that he is retired, Leal has three options workwise that he is looking at.
“I am very fortunate that I have those options,” Leal said.
In his free time, he enjoys working around the yard and staying active and busy. He is more of an outdoor person.
Leal would like to thank the city and community, all the officials and courts at the county level, the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Department, DPS and the police departments in Poteet, Pleasanton, Jourdanton and Lytle.
“They have all helped me throughout the years. Everytime I have needed help from somebody, they would offer to help. All the agencies reached out, as well as the citizens and I appreciate that- their patience, too.”