BADGE 401, 566
SDPD 09/28/1953 - 03/16/1973
01/25/1927 - 05/24/2003
Deceased Name: PUENTE, ALBERTO G. 

San Diego Police Officer Passes Away After 40 Years in Law Enforcement

A Rosary Service will be held Friday, May 30th at 7:30 p.m. at the El Camino Memorial Cypress View Chapel, 3953 Imperial Avenue. On Saturday, May 31st, Mass will be held at 12 Noon at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 7710 El Cajon Blvd. in La Mesa followed by a burial ceremony at El Camino Memorial Cemetery in Sorrento Valley.

During his career as a police officer, Alberto G. Puente became known for his keen observation skills, persistence and methodical approach leading to arrests that may not have otherwise been made.

In his early years as a police officer, he was assigned to the Border Inspection Station in San Ysidro. While there, he developed a positive rapport with Mexican Government officials. This was during the 1950s and early 1960s when there were few bilingual and bicultural police officers.

Mr. Puente's fluency in both Spanish and English and with Mexican culture became recognized as a much needed and valued asset to the San Diego Police Department.

His other assignments included the Harbor area and Point Loma. Later in his career Mr. Puente served as a community relations officer. In that capacity he carried out Police Department public relations, spoke to students and community organizations about the work of police officers and addressed community safety issues.

He received several commendations from the Police Department and numerous citizen commendations for his work.  In April 1970, Mr. Mike Amador, Jr., Executive Secretary of the Community Action Council on Logan Avenue, sent the Chief of Police a letter of appreciation, making special note of Mr. Puente's community relations skills in dealing with a conflict between the Logan Heights community and city officials.

Logan community members wanted to use the land beneath Coronado Bridge as a park while the city wanted to use it to construct offices for the California Highway Patrol.  Mr. Puente effectively represented the community's perspective to city officials.

Subsequent to retiring from the San Diego Police Department, Mr. Puente joined the San Diego Community College Police Department. While in that position, he was integral to raising the standards and professionalizing the security department at City College.  Mr. Puente hired experienced staff rather than using independent contractors as had been the practice prior to his tenure, he arranged to send security staff to the Police Academy for training and developed and implemented guidelines and protocols.

In 1980, the President of the College's Educational Cultural Complex located in Southeast San Diego especially noted the sensitivity and efficiency with which Mr. Puente carried out his duties and the positive image he provided for the Mexican-American community at the campus, which prior to 1979, had essentially been ignored.  Mr. Puente retired from the San Diego Community College Police Department in 1993 with the rank of Captain.

Born to Benito and Maria Puente on January 5, 1927 in Chambers, Arizona, Alberto G. Puente grew up along the southern border of the Navajo reservation with his 5 brothers and 4 sisters.

As a teenager, he came to San Diego with his family and worked for Rohr Aircraft. Later, he enlisted in the Navy and proudly served his country as a Seaman First Class with a tour of duty in the Philippines.

In 1953, Mr. Puente joined the San Diego Police Department.

As an avid baseball fan, Mr. Puente was a member of the Umpire's Association. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he could frequently be found on Saturdays umpiring baseball games with his 5 children in tow. As an umpire, he also collaborated with Mexican baseball teams in Tecate, Baja California.

Mr. Puente also liked to golf. With his wife Rebecca, Mr. Puente enjoyed an active social life. Together they participated with local political organizations such as the Spanish Speaking Political Association, the California Mexican American Society, and the Alba 80 Foundation. And together they campaigned for Richard Nixon's candidacy for President and worked as volunteers for Pete Chacon's run for Assemblyman.

Mr. Puente was a charter member of the Bilingue Latinoamericano Chapter #3052 of Toastmasters International and was an active member of the Rotary Club.

Later in life, Mr. Puente reunited with his fellow classmates from Signalman School during his Navy days and with his wife took pleasure in hosting and coordinating annual reunions. Spending leisure time with his wife and family were his favorite pastimes. With them he traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Spain and especially enjoyed taking his children to Arizona to see his childhood stomping grounds and to learn about Native Indian culture.

As a father, he took great pride in participating with the usual rites of passage. Such as walking his eldest daughter down the aisle when she married, traveling to Washington, DC to attend his younger daughter's graduation from the American University, and later returning frequently to Arizona to visit his daughter while she worked on the Apache, Navajo and Hopi reservations.

Mr. Puente had fun celebrating his grandchildren's birthdays, baptisms and first communions. He always enjoyed family gatherings.

Alberto G. Puente succumbed from complications of Parkinson's Disease on May 24th and is survived by his wife, five children, eight grandchildren, four brothers and one sister.
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