HAPCOA Supports the Fourth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing

Now Accepting Nominations until 8:00 PM EDT, April 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice is accepting nominations for the Fourth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing.  This award recognizes individual state, local, or tribal sworn police officers, deputies and troopers for exceptional efforts for innovations in community policing, criminal investigations, and field operations.  The Department is accepting nominations for the award until 8:00 PM EDT on Friday, April 24, 2020.  The nomination process for this award is available at www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award. 

HAPCOA has supported the DOJ nomination process for the past several years and encourages members to nominate officers of this special recognition.

Nominations may be submitted by the nominee’s supervisors, professional peers, or members of the local community and may include references and URL links to news sources and promotional or other materials that describe or substantiate the activity, program, or initiative for which the nominee(s) is being recommended.  Nominations must be submitted in the following format:

Nominations should be submitted through the web-based application form.  The online application will direct the nominating individuals to complete the following fields:

  1. Name and rank of nominee(s) (must be rank-and-file officers, deputies or troopers in nonsupervisory positions), the lead agency name, and the size of population served by the agency
  2. Name and affiliation of the nominating individual
  3. Nomination category for the activities, programs, or initiatives for which the nominee(s) is being nominated (Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, or Innovations in Policing)
  4. A detailed description of the specific action(s), programs, or initiatives of the nominee(s) for which s/he is being nominated
  5. Agency point of contact information

Nominations must be submitted by 8:00 PM EDT on Friday, April 24, 2020. 

In the event that agencies or other nominating parties are unable to access the online application, nomination letters may be sent via email.  The nomination letter should be no longer than three pages and should include the fields listed here.  Nominations submitted in letter format must be sent via email to dojpolicingawards@usdoj.gov by 8:00 PM EDT, Friday, April 24, 2020.

Please direct all general inquiries to dojpolicingawards@usdoj.gov.

Proposed Social Media Post Language:

Want to nominate an officer, deputy or trooper for their exemplary service in policing? Go to www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award to submit your nomination for the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing. Nominations are being accepted now until April 24. 

It’s not too late to nominate an officer, deputy or trooper for their exemplary service in policing. Go to www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award to submit your nomination for the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing. Nominations are being accepted now until April 24. 

Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate an officer, deputy or trooper for their exemplary service in policing. The deadline for nominations – April 24 – is fast approaching. Submit your nomination today at www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award 


HAPCOA National Board Announcements

(San Antonio)  With the postponement of the HAPCOA 46th Annual National Law Enforcement Training Symposium, due to issues related to the COVID 19 (CoronaVirus), the National Board voted to hold all board members in position until our next National Law Enforcement Training Symposium

The postponed HAPCOA National Law Enforcement Training Symposium will be held in April 27-30, 2021 in San Antonio, TX.  The San Antonio Chapter and the HAPCOA Symposium Committee will continue forward with their plans and prepare for our next symposium.  The training agenda will remain in tack (based on the schedules of the presenters) and the training theme for our postponed symposium will remain: “Enhancing Community Relations & Safeguarding Community Trust”.

Plans will also now advance as we also prepare to host our 2022 HAPCOA National Law Enforcement Training Symposium in Los Angeles in April 2022.

Also note that all HAPCOA 2019/2020 Aguila Award winners will be presented with their plaques, medals and awards at our postponed event to be held during the Aguila Awards Luncheon in San Antonio on April 28, 2021.  In addition, HAPCOA 2020/2021 Aguila Awards will be presented at our next event in San Antonio.

At present the HAPCOA National Board has one open slot (2nd VP) for a non-federal command level officers (Ranked at Lt and above).  This person would advance to National President in 2023 and would be responsible for our HAPCOA 2023 National Training Symposium.  Anyone interested in serving should advise HAPCOA Executive Director Tony Chapa (achapa@hapcoa.org), on or before May 1, 2020. Executive Director Chapa can provide additional details.  From the pool of interested parties the HAPCOA National Board will appoint an individual to serve as our 2nd VP.

Next year, during the HAPCOA National Membership meeting, to be held on Monday, April 26, 2021, we will hold an election for 4th VP (Federal / GS 14+/Active or Retired) and also all two-year positions on the National Board will be open for election and/or re-election (Secretary, Treasurer, Sgt-at Arms & Parliamentarian).   The Director at Large position on the National Board is appointed yearly by the National President.


HAPCOA Postpones its National Training Symposium until April 2021

(San Antonio)  The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) has decided to postpone its 46th Annual National Law Enforcement Training Symposium, scheduled for April 27-30 in San Antonio, TX due to COVID-19 concerns.  The HAPCOA National Training Symposium has been postponed until next April 2021 and will be held in San Antonio, Texas.

We understand that the developing COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) situation is causing many of our attendees, who are command level officers, to attend to events and situations within their jurisdictions and areas of responsibility; as such, many will be unable to attend the 2020 HAPCOA National Law Enforcement Training Symposium.  In addition government travel restrictions placed on employees may prevent members and presenters from attending our event.

We are prepared to address symposium cancelations and to communicate with our attendees, vendors and exhibitors.  Attendees will need to contact their hotels and airlines directly to cancel their reservations

The safety and health of our members, attendees, speakers, guests, exhibitors and presenters is our top priority. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio next year.

The HAPCOA National Board of Directors.


Safeguarding the Community

Local police departments have to closely work with the communities they serve and protect. In the light of the dramatic increase of pre-planned attacks on law enforcement agents in recent months, safety equipment has become a vital necessity for officers.

Law enforcement is a big part of the community and people need to come together to give back to the police officers whose lives are on the line every day. As more people become increasingly aware of the difficulties experienced by local law enforcement agencies across the country, it is important to understand the ways community safety is adversely impacted by a lack of support for the men and women in blue. Residents of some neighborhoods are not only unsupportive of local officers but are even hostile toward them.

However, the bigger problem is the lack of funds on a state and national level. Many police departments are unable to provide their officers with up-to-date training or supply them with needed safety equipment. Others find themselves making due with body armor, which no longer comes close to meeting their requirements. In trying to find a suitable solution to address these issues, local communities are forming nonprofits to work in unity with other charitable organizations for the benefit of law enforcement departments across the country.

This is why initiatives undertaken by HAPCOA, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, are so important for educating the community and increasing law enforcement morale. In addition to providing police departments with the advanced training many so sorely need, it educates them on the advanced body armour available to protect officers. One of the main areas of focus of the organization is in bringing communities together. It’s a win-win proposition as communities need to be united in their support for police officers.

Through the years, police departments across the country have been faced with escalating adversity. Early on in 2016, the number of firearm assaults on police officers rose a staggering 300% in comparison to the previous year. Outdated technology and body armor with insufficient protection that no longer does the job only adds to law enforcement’s burdens. Furthermore, training and equipment budgets have plummeted, affecting the physical and mental advantages on which members of law enforcement depend. Such departmental deficiencies leave the police hard-pressed to deal with ever-increasing levels of violence in ways that are the least damaging to everyone concerned.

In keeping with HAPCOA's dedication to meeting the challenges of selection, promotion and retention of Hispanic American men and women in professional law enforcement and the criminal justice system, SafeGuard's armor addresses the concerns of their communities through the implementation of innovative, state-of-the art body armour. 

The range of body armour are characterized by optimum ventilation, and offer maximum protection in extreme weather conditions - something that greatly benefits law enforcement agents who need to patrol the streets for hours at a time. Using cutting edge technology, SafeGuard has engineered a line of vests to offer comfort and security that fits the specific needs of the law enforcement community. 

Acknowledging the importance of the right body armor for the safety of police officers is the first step towards better safeguarding of the community. 


HAPCOA Attends Inauguration of the President’s Commission of Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

(Washington)  The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) was invited to attend the Inauguration of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.  The opening ceremony was held on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at the Department of Justice, Grand Hall in Washington, DC.

The DOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) coordinated the event and its Director Phil Keith was named as the Chairman of the Commission.  Phil Keith was the former Police Chief of Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Welcoming all to the inaugural event and swearing-in of the Commissioners was US Attorney General William Barr.  Mr. Barr said that “This Commission is critical because of the challenges posed by technology as well as ‘a wave of social problems, such as homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness’ that demand solutions beyond the expertise of police”.  He went on to say in his remarks “All Americans should agree that nobody wins when trust breaks down between police and the community they serve. We need to address the divide”.

Commissioners selected for appointment represent Federal, State, County, Municipal Law Enforcement and several United States and States Attorneys.  Approximately 300 people were invited to attend the event.

The Presidential Commission was formed to study crucial issues in law enforcement which aims to follow along the lines of the last such commission formed in 1965.

HAPCOA proudly reports that member Gina Hawkins, Chief of the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Police Department was sworn in as a Commissioner.  Chief Hawkins also serves on the National Board of NOBLE.

Commissioners of the President’s Commission included:

David Bowdich, Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations

James Clemmons, Sheriff of Richmond County, North Carolina

Chris Evens, Chief of Operations of the Drug Enforcement Administration

Frederick Frazier, City Councilman at Large of McKinney, Texas

Robert Gualtieri, Sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida

Regina Lombardo, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms & Explosives

Erica MacDonald, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota

Ashley Moody, Attorney General of Florida

Nancy Parr, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chesapeake, Virginia

Craig Price, Secretary of Public Safety of South Dakota

Gordon Ramsay, Chief of the Wichita, Kansas, Police Department

David Rausch, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations

John Samaniego, Sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama

James Smallwood, Sergeant, Metropolitan Nashville, Tennessee, Police Department

Donald Washington, Director of the United States Marshals Service, and

Gina Hawkins, Chief of the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Police Department

HAPCOA members attending this historic event included:  Don Tijerina, Chief of the South San Antonio ISD; Paul Chapa, Chief of the Trinity University Police Department and Anthony Chapa, HAPCOA Executive Director. 

HAPCOA members were also invited to meet privately with the Attorney General Barr in his office.

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HAPCOA members attend President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice:  Chief Paul Chapa and Executive Director Anthony Chapa

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Commission members are sworn-in by Attorney General Barr.

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Chief Paul Chapa, Chief Don Tijernia , Chief Gina Hawkins and Chief Cerelyn Davis (NOBLE National President)

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IACP Immediate Past President Paul Cell and HAPCOA Executive Director Anthony Chapa

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HAPCOA members meet with Attorney General Barr.  Chief Don Tijerina, Chief Paul Chapa and Executive Director Anthony Chapa.


HAPCOA Member named Secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP) in Puerto Rico

(San Juan)  HAPCOA is proud to announce and support the nomination of Mr. Pedro “Pete” Janer, by Puerto Rico’s Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced, to the position of Secretary, Department of Public Security.  Janer replaces Elmer Ramon who was named as the new Secretary of State.

The DSP is the umbrella organization that agglomerates the law enforcement and emergency response agencies of the government of Puerto Rico. The department was formed on April 10, 2017, when then governor Ricardo Rosselló signed the law to unify all safety agencies. All agencies are bureaus of the department. 

The following agencies are under the umbrella organization of the department..  All of these agencies have their own director or commissioner: 

Secretary Janer retired from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and served as DEA’s Caribbean Operations Acting Special Agent in Charge.  Janer retired with nearly 30 years of service.

HAPCOA wishes Secretary Janer all the best in his new leadership position.


Puerto Rico’s Governor Vazquez nominates Pedro “Pete” Janer

News Paper posting:


HAPCOA Attends 3rd Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing.

(Washington, DC) The 3rd Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing was held on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 in the Department of Justice Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Attorney General William P. Barr recognized 19 law enforcement officers from across the country for their outstanding work in the following categories:  Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, and Innovations in Community Policing.

“Honoring and supporting the work of law enforcement officers and deputies is a top priority for the Trump Administration, and today is an opportunity for me to personally express my gratitude and commitment to those who risk their lives daily to protect our communities,” said Attorney General Barr.

Attorney General Barr recognized the family members present and that their sacrifice is not forgotten. “To my mind there is no more noble profession than serving as a law enforcement officer.  You put your life and well-being on the line to protect your communities. And your families spend anxious nights, night after night, so the rest of us can sleep in peace.” The Attorney General stated that policing is a difficult job today more than ever.  He addressed how drugs has manifested itself in society, the problem of violent crimes and how law enforcement officers are expected to deal with societal problems because other people may not be doing their jobs.

Richard Rosa (Immediate Past President-HAPCOA), Marcia C. Ferranto (CEO NLEOM) and Dwayne A. Crawford (Exec. Dir. NOBLE)


HAPCOA Attends ABA National Summit on Firearms Violence

(Washington, DC)  The American Bar Association (ABA), Standing Committee on Gun Violence, held an executive summit to address the epidemic of firearms violence in America. This meeting was held on November 19, 2019 at ABA National Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Opening remarks were provided by Judy Perry-Martinez, President of the ABA (2019-2020).  The ABA hosted thought leaders from over 70 professional associations who were specifically invited to attend a daylong event to discuss issues related to firearms violence.  Discussions were lead within roundtable groups who represented legal, medical, education, policy and law enforcement concerns.

Invited professional associations to this summit included (among many others):

American Bar Association (ABA)
American College of Physicians
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Medical Association (AMA)
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Public Health Association (APHA)
American Prosecuting Attorneys (APA)
The Council of State Governments (CSG)
Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
National Bar Association (NBA)
National District Attorney Association (NDAA)
National Education Association (NEA)
National Medial Association (NMA)
The United States Conference of Mayors

Law enforcement associations invited to attend and support this summit included:

The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
National Association of School Resource Officers
National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
National Police Foundation (NPF)
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)

This summit resulted in a call for continued talks with respect to the invited associations that in total represent over half a million professionals (lawyers, doctors, educator, law enforcement executives and Mayors) who together may offer a unique perspectives from which true solutions may emerge.

Anthony Chapa, Executive Director, represented HAPCOA at this National Summit.

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Award Nominations Now Accepted:  Deadline February 15, 2020

The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) sponsors the coveted “AGUILA” Awards Program.  Aguila is the Spanish word for Eagle. The eagle is a universal symbol of vigilance, strength and courage. There are two types of Aguila Awards: The Aguila Statue Award and the Aguila Medallion Awards.

Those selected to receive the 2019 Awards will be recognized and presented their awards on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at the HAPCOA 46th Annual National Law Enforcement Training Symposium – Aguila Awards Luncheon to be held in San Antonio, TX.


It is the highest form of recognition given by HAPCOA for exceptional contributions by an individual or an organization in support of HAPCOA’s mission and goals. Nominees exemplify the highest levels of concern for Public Safety and embody the principals of HAPCOA was founded to promote. This award can be awarded to a private individual, community organization, or a law enforcement/criminal justice agency.


There are the Medallion Award Categories:

  • Harris Technology  Award (Plaque): presented to an individual or task force who used advanced technology to investigate and solve significant criminal cases.
  • Gold Medal of Valor Award: presented to an individual, who while on official duty, performed beyond the call, exemplifying courage and boldness.
  • Silver Medal for Meritorious Conduct: presented to an individual, who has performed meritorious work in law enforcement.
  • Bronze Medal for Community Service: presented to an individual who has contributed to the civic projects or programs that have resulted in the betterment of the community. These awards are presented annually to individuals, agencies, or departments nationwide in recognition for promoting a standard of excellence that exemplifies law enforcement’s contributions and dedication to the quality of life in local communities. This Awards Program helps law enforcement agencies nationwide and the communities they serve by redefining the concept of law enforcement and how it is routinely performed.


Nominee(s) must be sworn law enforcement officer from any federal, state, county, university or local law enforcement agency within the United States. Nominations must be submitted by an active member of HAPCOA, who must provide all pertinent information on the nominee. Nomination must involve an incident occurring within the last year. Nomination submissions are currently being accepted through February 15, 2020, and should be submitted via the HAPCOA Awards website page (www.hapcoa.org).

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HAPCOA Medals created and donated by Shimon Elbaz, Entenmann-Rovin Badge Company of Los Angeles, CA.


HAPCOA Supports DHS Women in Law Enforcement Mentoring Program

(Washington DC) HAPCOA offers its support of the DHS Women in Law Enforcement Mentoring Program.  Forwarded is a message from Michelle McGriff, WLE Mentoring Program Manager, DHS:

We are happy to announce that the DHS Women in Law Enforcement Mentoring Program will continue.   The application period will open on November 18, 2019 and close, December 9, 2019. Mentor and mentee matches will be announced January 16, 2020.

As colleagues and partners, we are seeking your assistance in securing members of your organization to serve as mentors to DHS employee mentees. If your members are interested in serving as mentors, please instruct them to complete and submit the attached mentor application to WLEMentoring@hq.dhs.gov.

The Kick-Off Meeting for the WLE Mentoring Program will be held Thursday, January 23, 2020 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm (EST) at CRCL, 131 M Street NE, Sixth Floor, Washington, D.C.  For those unable to attend in person, the meeting will also be available through Adobe Connect.

For questions, and web access to the application, please contact Michelle McGriff, WLE Mentoring Program Manager, Departmental Special Emphasis Program Manager/Federal Women’s Program Manager, DHS 

Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties via Michelle.McGriff@hq.dhs.gov or (202) 357-1261

We appreciate your support for this important initiative.

  Macintosh HD:Users:achapa:Downloads:DHS Women in Law Enforcement Mentoring Program:WLE Mentoring Program Mentor Application 11_14_19 FINAL mm rev.pdf