Riverview Police promote four, hire new officer


Four veteran officers have been promoted and a new officer has been added to the Riverview Police Department.

Chief of Police Ronald Beggs announced the promotions of Lt. Christopher Merritt, Lt. Robert Bemis, Sgt. Derek Gentry and Sgt. Jason Fell along with the hiring of Officer Johnathan Garcia.

Following the oath of office before 27th District Court Judge Elizabeth L. DiSanto, each officer was presented with his new badge and a Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition from U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell.

“This is a proud event for the Riverview Police Department,” said Chief Beggs. “Each one of these (promoted) officers has consistently demonstrated professionalism and commitment to public service over the course of their careers. I look forward to their continued service to our community as members of the Police Department leadership team.”

 Beggs gave a brief profile of each of the promoted officers:

• Lt. Merritt is a 20-year member of the Riverview Police Department. He has been assigned to the Patrol Division after previously serving as the sergeant in charge of the Detective Bureau.

• Lt. Bemis is a 23-year member of the department. He has been assigned to the Patrol Division and also serves as the Field Training coordinator responsible for overseeing the training of new police officers and ensuring their readiness to professionally fulfill the responsibilities of a police officer.

• Sgt. Gentry and Sgt. Fell are 18-year and 17-year members of the department, respectively. Both are assigned to the Patrol Division.

Riverview Mayor Andrew Swift had high praise for the city’s Police Department.

“The City Council appreciates the effort put forward by these and all officers to better themselves and therefore the city,” Mayor Swift said. “Congratulations to these officers and to Chief Beggs for recognizing their efforts.”

Beggs said he is pleased that Garcia is the department’s newest police officer. The patrolman is a native of Taylor who graduated from the Oakland Police Academy on December 4, 2020.

“Officer Garcia brings a genuine desire to serve the citizens of Riverview and I am confident that he will serve our community for many years to come,” Beggs said.

Administrative Lt. Richard Troup called Garcia “a bright and energetic young officer who was looking to find a home in a police department. Officer Garcia’s interview and background made him an easy choice. In his first few days, Officer Garcia has made a positive impression on this community and it appears he will continue to do so.”

Garcia said the Chief of Police made a positive impression on him.

“I chose the department because the department is into community-oriented policing,” Garcia said. “Also, getting to know Chief Beggs during the hiring process weighed heavily on my decision to want to be part of the Riverview Police Department and its vision going forward.”