Ramiro “Ram” Garza has traversed the state as a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety, and his journey started at Angelo State.
Needing a college degree to be a DPS trooper, the San Antonio native initially narrowed his college options to three schools, but one visit to ASU made his choice an easy one.
“I toured the campus with my parents and fell in love with it,” Garza said. “I didn’t even go look at the other two. Walking through campus and seeing everything, I knew this was it for me. I made my decision right then and there.”
It turned out to be a great decision for several reasons, the best of which was meeting his wife, Belinda (Class of 2009), on the intramural softball field.
“She was playing first base and I was playing second,” Garza said. “One of my friends threw the ball from third to first, and I didn’t think she could catch it. So I stepped in front of her, caught the ball and got the out. She was not happy about it.”
“We jokingly tell that story to everyone, and she doesn’t let me forget it,” he added. “Turns out she was a softball state champion in high school and she’s probably better than me.”
His time at ASU also laid the foundation for Garza’s career in the DPS.
“At ASU, I learned how to stay organized and prioritize things,” he said. “That has progressed through my career, keeping me on track and allowing me to stay on top of things and also get ahead.”
“I’ve just been out there doing my job and loving what I’m doing, trying to serve and protect in my best capacity.”
Now a lieutenant stationed in San Angelo, Garza supervises some 40 troopers assigned to the 11-county area. Over his career, he has also been stationed in Midland, Del Rio, San Antonio and Austin, as well as other temporary postings. He has worked on high-profile investigations, escorted top government officials, mentored new recruits, and deployed for border patrol and natural disaster relief efforts.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t even feel like work,” Garza said. “Responding to Hurricane Harvey, I spent 14 days somewhere I probably would never have gone otherwise. Getting to see parts of the state that my family and I never imagined going to, that’s one of the best parts of my job.”
Additionally, Garza has continued his education, earning his Master Police Officer credential and graduating from Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff. He also earned a DPS Lifesaving Award for rescuing a drowning toddler during a family gathering.
For his outstanding early career and dedication to public safety, the Alumni Association has named Garza its 2023 Distinguished Young Alumnus.
“It’s a bit surreal,” he said. “I’ve just been out there doing my job and loving what I’m doing, trying to serve and protect in my best capacity. You start off somewhere that has given you so many great memories, and to come back to be honored is really amazing to me.”
Outside of work, Garza mainly spends his time with his wife and two young sons, Witten (9) and Walker (4). He has also given guest lectures to ASU criminal justice classes.