Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter appointed Reverend Derek Garcia, who attended Great Neck North High School, as a Nassau County police chaplain.
Garcia grew up in a devout Christian household with parents who were founding pastors of El Tabernaculo de Gozo Church in East Meadow. He also attended BOCES in Farmingdale for aviation for two years, where he followed his passion for flying until his first few months in college.
Following a trip to India, Garcia was inspired to take a different path and gave up flying to follow in his father’s footsteps. After returning from college, Garcia took over the youth ministry at El Tabernaculo de Gozo Church. He is now senior pastor of the church and, in 2006, became a board member of the Long Island Hispanic Pastoral Association, where he works with dozens of Nassau County pastors, helping to support and grow their ministries as well.
Many people have enlisted Garcia’s help when organizing events and programs, such as in 2011, when he was a major coordinator for a 15,000-person event in Freeport for the Hispanic community, as well as the Annual Noche Cristiana in Eisenhower Park, a summer evening of music for the Spanish-speaking community. Garcia was also recruited by a community leader from Shepherd’s Gate in Brentwood to head an after-school enrichment program for middle- and high-school students.
The position of police chaplain can be quite demanding as Garcia’s services may be required at all hours of the night. His duties will include assisting in death notifications, supporting victims in times of crisis, visiting sick or injured personnel, counseling members of the police department and their families, and serving as a liaison with other clergy in the community.
“Reverend Derek Garcia is a great addition to the Nassau County Police Department,” said Mangano. “His dedication to the people of Nassau County is truly admirable and speaks volumes about his commitment to bettering the lives of everyone he comes across.”
Garcia has been married to Stephanie since September 2009 and has three children, Grace, Josiah and Obed. The family resides in East Meadow.