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With more than two years under his belt at the top job in the Alton Police Department, Chief Jonathon B. Flores is being recognized for his work.
Chief Flores was named as the only leader in the state of Texas to be listed in the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual 40 under 40, which recognizes law enforcement leaders who best exemplify leadership, dedication, and service to their communities and the law enforcement profession.
“This is very humbling, it’s an honor to be recognized on a global stage for my leadership,” Flores said. “Although this is an individual award, it’s a direct reflection of the leadership and culture that exists in the city of Alton starting with our mayor, city commission and city manager.”
Other leaders listed as 40 under 40 awardees include dispatchers, lieutenants, analysts and detectives from states such as Utah, New York, Florida and Colorado and from foreign countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Africa, British Columbia and Australia.
In a release from the IACP, Flores was recognized for his efforts in strengthening the relationship between the department and the public-something he said he would prioritize when he was appointed as police chief in March 2018.
“We’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things in a short amount of time,” Flores said of the programs he’s implemented which include a citizen police academy, giveaways for bike lights, school supplies and safety stickers where residents who have a diagnosed medical condition or a special need can pick up a safety sticker that should be placed on their vehicles to alert officers of their condition.
“The number one thing I am proud of is the Alton Cares Program,” Flores said of the program which connects first responders and their families with a chaplain for counseling services. “I’m happy about the work we do to raise awareness on mental health for the resilient mental health personnel. They’re the ones on the frontlines exposing themselves to things the average citizen would not be exposed to on the average day.”
By prioritizing the mental health of his fellow officers in the department, Flores said it guarantees police officers will work harder at their job.
“Of all the tenants of leadership that are taught, I believe the most important one is taking care of your people,” Flores said. “If you do so, they will work hard for your organization and take care of you. A lot of the things we’ve accomplished in this short amount of time is because of our staff committing our philosophy in working hard to serve the citizens of Alton in the outmost, professional and ethical manner”
Prior to becoming Alton’s police chief, Flores had a diverse career in multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the county such as the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and in police departments for the cities of McAllen, San Juan and McAllen ISD.
Flores was named police chief after the city fired former police Chief Enrique Sotelo following a sexual harassment complaint against him. When he was hired, the city commission and former city Manager Jorge Arcuate praised Flores for his ideas to strengthen police relations with the public.
“Throughout the course of my career I’ve been blessed to work under the direction of some great leaders,” Flores said of former leaders such as San Juan police Chief Tony Garza, McAllen PD Chief Victor Rodriguez and city of Alton officials.
“They provided positive examples of leadership that I’ve been able to take a bit from each of their styles of leadership to transform into my own,” Flores said. “Their leadership is what allows us to achieve success in the department. The culture and leadership in the city of Alton is pretty exceptional and it is because of their leadership we are able to achieve these successes.”
Flores will be recognized by the IAPC in a virtual ceremony next month.