The Smithfield Police Department has recognized their 2016 Officer of the Year.
Miguel Renteria was presented with a plaque by Police Chief Keith Powell and Mayor Andy Moore during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Smithfield Town Council.
Born in Bradenton, Florida, the second of four children from a migrant family, his parents moved from state-to-state to find a better opportunity in life. His family arrived in West Smithfield when Miguel was only 3. He grew up on the McKenzie Farm.
He went on to attend South Smithfield Primary, Smithfield Elementary and Smithfield Middle School while living with his parents.
At the age of 17 his parents returned to Mexico. He completed high school on his own at West Johnston High.
Officer Renteria then put himself through Johnston Community College attending Basic Law Enforcement Training before joining the department in February 2015. He also received a two year criminal justice and latent evidence degree from JCC all while raising his younger brother.
“Officer Renteria has been extremely dedicated to the department and its mission during 2016,” Chief Powell said. “Officer Renteria gives freely of his personal time to attend various community events such as speaking with high school students about their next step in life. He is always willing to come in to assist other officers with interpreting if the need arises, as well as other agencies.”
“He is a major asset of the department in the fact that he is bridging the gap with the Hispanic residents and the department,” Powell said. “Officer Renteria always goes above and beyond in the performance of his duties and working with his fellow co-workers.”
He also is guest speaker to children’s groups speaking about “Obstacles in Life.”
Renteria says he plans to work for the Smithfield Police Department until his retirement. While not on patrol he enjoys going to the beach, spending time with family and friends, helping out on the farm, and fishing.
He recently became engaged to his high school sweetheart, Brenda Fernanda Medina.