Garcia, 60, joined the department in 1981 as a reserve officer and later as a full-time officer working in various capacities from narcotics to patrol.
"I always had the need to help and serve people," he said.
Garcia was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, but came to Redlands with his mother in 1968 when he was in his mid-teens.
In 1972, he graduated from Redlands High School and had his sights set on law school when he enrolled at the University of Redlands the same year. He graduated in 1976, but he said limited resources prevented him from pursuing a career in law.
Instead of giving up completely, Garcia helped others inside the courtroom by working as a translator.
A discussion with then-police Sgt. Fernando Arias influenced him to check out law enforcement as a career, he said. So at age 28, he joined the department as a reserve officer and was hired at age 30 full time.
"Arias was the one who planted the seed," Garcia said.
Garcia moved up in the ranks and held a number of positions.
He said his favorite assignments were in the investigations and narcotics division under the direction of Chief Robert Brickley.
"I was very lucky that (he) allowed me to work with the DA, FBI and the Inland Regional Narcotics Enforcement Team, which is still active," Garcia said.
Garcia said one of his most challenging assignments was working homicide.
Garcia, then a sergeant, oversaw the investigation of several high-profile murder and shooting cases, including the 2003 Kelly Bullwinkle and 1994 Marilyn Mishak cases.
"His commitment to the community was exceptional as a detective sergeant of investigations where he worked countless hours," said Lt. Travis Martinez, a longtime friend. "Nobody worked as many hours as him.
"There were many times he worked a wide variety of investigations working 100 hours straight without taking any breaks. The sacrifices he made for his family to ensure the community was better, safer, were just tremendous."
Martinez said he remembered one Thanksgiving where the department received a lead in a homicide investigation.
Leaving his family celebration behind, Garcia took the lead and traveled to Los Angeles with other members of his team to capture the suspect.
"He did not hesitate that Thanksgiving morning that he would be foregoing (the) festivities one bit to join the detectives in Los Angeles," Martinez said. "He's the type of guy that was right there with his troops. And lo and behold, we ended up solving that murder because of the work he did."
Garcia later joined patrol team.
He said his decision to retire was a hard one but it was time.
"It takes a toll on the body (and the) family," he said. "I guess the dream of most police officers is around 30 years and that's it. Some of them quit when they've done 20, 25 years. But not me. I wanted to do my 30 years in law enforcement."
Garcia was honored by the Redlands City Council and Garcia at the council's Dec. 17 meeting.
On Dec. 20, an end-of-watch announcement was broadcast to Redlands police employees.
Garcia is now making the progression from law enforcement to home life, but he doesn't feel it yet.
"I feel like I'm still on vacation," he said.
Garcia said he has no set plans on what he wants to do in retirement, but he knows he will continue work with the community.
Before joining the department, Garcia worked with the YMCA both part time and full time.
He is also a member of the Northside Impact Committee and volunteers with Build a Generation, a Redlands group that supports youth.
He will also spend more time with his wife of more than 30 years, Sylvia, and their three children - Roy, 25, Crystal, 17, and Christopher, 13.
"There will always be an opportunity out there to be a service to the community," Garcia said.