By Monica Zech
EL CAJON–One of the El Cajon Police Department’s highly decorated police officers is leaving after nearly 30 years with department.
Agent Richard Agundez’ official last day was June 11.
Agundez started his career with the police department in 1979 as a Cadet when he was 19 years of age. He worked as a reserve officer until he was hired as a police officer on December 10, 1981 by then Police Chief Darwin Sinclair. He attended the 8th Regional Academy at Miramar College. During his years with El Cajon, Agent Agundez has worked under seven different police chiefs including current Police Chief Pat Sprecco.
His assignments over the years include patrol, traffic in both an enforcement car and on a motorcycle, community policing as the first D.A.R.E. officer with the department, and he served as the city’s first school resource officer. He was promoted to the rank of agent in September of 2000. He was a member of the Special Weapons and Tactics team (S.W.A.T.) from 1992 through 1999. He was also assigned the role of acting sergeant for different divisions, as needed.
During his career, Agent Agundez responded to major incidents, such as the Family Fitness shooting, the Key Largo incident, the Santana High School shooting, and the Granite Hills High School shooting, along with several S.W.A.T missions. Agent Agundez was the officer who stopped the shooting at Granite Hills. This act of heroism earned him numerous awards.
Police Chief Pat Sprecco commented,”Agent Agundez…has served with distinction in many assignments and is the recipient of many awards including the Medal of Valor. In addition to his exemplary work history, his outstanding record of volunteering in the community has earned him the respect of the department and the community alike. We all wish him well in his retirement.”
Agent Agundez’ contributions to the community include volunteering as a football coach at El Cajon Valley High School for the past six years, serving as advisor for the department’s D.A.R.E. Spirit All Star Cheer Team for three years, as a board member of Stoney’s Kids, as well as a member and past president of the San Diego County Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and he served on the El Cajon Police Officers Associations (ECPOA) board.
Agent Agundez reflected that, “It has been an honor to work for the department all of these years. I have never felt I was not allowed to do something that I wanted to do! Every opportunity was given to me, which made me the officer I became. We have a cutting edge department with a reputation for the excellent work that we do all around. We have a department with integrity second to none in my opinion. I am sad for leaving the folks that I work with. I will miss the brotherhood and the uniform. But it has been a great run. God has blessed me all of these years with what I feel was a mission to help those that would take it. More sad stories than good, but the good stories are great!”
What does this very active officer plan to do after retirement, which by the way starts on his 50th birthday? He plans to get some well-deserved rest, de-stress, and buy a new car. He hopes to find a job teaching traffic related classes, such as traffic school or driving instruction. He also plans to find a personal trainer, to help get into shape.