HAPCOA Member Presents LEARN Lecture

On July 16, 2020, Mr. Paul J. Chapa who serves as the Assistant Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management and Safety and Chief of Police at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas presented to the Law Enforcement Area Resource Network (LEARN) from the Boston Massachusetts area. The topic of Chief Chapa’s presentation was “Community Engagement Through 21st Century Policing.”

Chief Chapa shared the many community engagement initiatives his team has sponsored to include Pan Dulce with Police, Cop Corn, Coffee with a Cop and many more. Chief Chapa commented “The 21st Century Policing Six Pillars are measures that all police agencies should adopt, it’s what our communities demand now more than ever.” The six pillars are identified as 1.) Building Trust and Legitimacy 2.) Policy and Oversight 3.) Technology and Social Media 4.) Community Policing and Crime Reduction 5.) Officer Training and Education and 6.) Officer Safety and Wellness.

During the presentation Chief Chapa shared “As many police agencies are seeking a path forward in our current social pandemic against the police, the six pillars have identified a strong foundation for us to adopt.” On December 18, 2014, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order appointing an 11-member task force on 21st century policing to respond to a number of serious incidents between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect. The President wanted a quick but thorough response that would begin the process of healing and restore community trust.

Other police agencies that participated in the zoom presentation included Harvard University Police Department, Brown University Police Department, Northeastern University Police Department, MIT Police Department, and many more. Special thanks to Sergeant Jacobo Negron of Harvard University Police Department for coordinating the presentation.

The Trinity University Police Department has achieved Recognition status from the Texas Police Chief's Association and Accreditation from the International Association of Police Administrators. Both accreditations are voluntary processes where police agencies prove their compliance with over 200 Law Enforcement Best Practices. These Best Practices were carefully developed by law enforcement professionals to assist agencies in the efficient and effective delivery of service, the reduction of risk and the protection of individual's rights.

Chief Chapa served as the National President of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) in 2012-2013.


HAPCOA Responses to Negative Social Media Posts

A Written Statement:
Prepared by the
National Board of Directors of the
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association

Respecting the Families of two McAllen Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

(Washington, DC) This past Saturday, July 11, 2020, two officers of the City of McAllen, TX, Police Department were killed in the line of duty while responding to a complaint of domestic violence.

The suspect, without warning, shot both brave officers as they approached the door of the home. As Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said during a press conference, “ The officers never had a chance to suspect a deadly assault on them, much less death, at that moment in time”. The Police Officers were Ismael Chavez, 39 and Edelmiro Garza, Jr., 45. Garza had been with the department close to nine years while Chavez had been on the force for about two and a half years.

Subsequently, members of the families, posted on social media, their thoughts and feelings with grieving family, friends, fellow officers and the general public. By and large many of the responses were supportive and empathetic. Not expected were negative postings against the Police and hurtful comments directed to the families in mourning.

These two, Police Officers, were dedicated public servants and true guardians of a community that truly respected them for their service and bravery under duress.

The HAPCOA Board of Directors asks that all its members, supporting law enforcement associations, and supporting members of the Hispanic community, please send, in care of Chief Victor Rodriguez, McAllen Police Department, 1601 N. Bicentennial Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501, letters of support and condolence. We must show our support to the families of our fallen officers and also support the proud members of the McAllen Police Department.

McAllen, TX is located in southern Texas along the US-Mexico border.

About HAPCOA: The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) is a non-profit membership organization established in 1973. It is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, school, county, state, university, and federal levels.

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association
PO Box 29626
Washington, DC 20017


President Trump Signs Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities

(Washington, DC) On June 16, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order to foster closer ties between law enforcement and the communities that we protect and serve.

Under the Order, the Attorney General will allocate certain grant funding to only those law enforcement agencies that meet high standards, including use-of-force and de-escalation protocols.

The Order also provides incentives for law enforcement agencies to use a nationwide database to track terminations, criminal convictions, and civil judgments against law enforcement officers for excessive use-of-force.

The Administration will prioritize training and other programs for police and social workers responding to incidents involving the mentally ill, addicted, and homeless.

In addition, President Trump is directing his Administration to develop and prepare new legislation before Congress to further the policies of the Executive Order and to build upon community engagement.

HAPCOA, in conversation, with Dr. Andrea Ramirez, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Hispanic Engagement, White House Office of Public Liaison, has been invited to establish an ongoing relationship and dialogue with the Administration to voice our concerns and to share our focus with respect to diversity in law enforcement, specialized training, mentoring and safeguarding & building public trust.


Our Response to the Tragic Loss of the Public’s Trust in Policing

A Written Statement:

Prepared by the
National Board of Directors of the
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association

Our Response to the Tragic Loss of the Public’s Trust in Policing

(Washington, DC) The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) denounces and admonishes the four Minneapolis police officers involved in the senseless and tragic murder of George Floyd. The officers acted poorly by not heeding to the pleas made by Mr. Floyd. The officers’ callous, insensitive, and heartless demeanor does NOT represent the values and precepts that the thousands of men and women in law enforcement demonstrate as they carry out their sworn duties. The noted actions of these four officers violated George Floyd's human rights; this contradicts the police officers' oath to protect and save human life.

HAPCOA recognizes that when the actions of a few officers are no longer within the realm of acceptable and accredited policing norms, and when the actions of a few, may be alleged as criminal; then it is our sworn duty and responsibility, as command officers, to step forward and appropriately remove (suspend, fire or charge) the offending officers.

HAPCOA accepts that as an association of Hispanic command officers, we must take a profound leadership role when the issue of losing public TRUST invades the diverse communities that we serve and protect. In many cases, the communities that we patrol are where we grew up, where we went to school, and where our extended families may still live and work today.

HAPCOA embraces the value of public TRUST by actively building rapport and demonstrating confidence in our law enforcement ability to perform our sworn duty without disparate treatment found within some of our communities. Through active ENGAGEMENT, we are open to continued dialogue with our local community, schools, houses of worship, and businesses. We are ACCOUNTABLE to self, our agencies, and the local community at large. And we must have RESPECT for human life, regardless of one's socioeconomic status.

About HAPCOA: The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) is a non-profit membership organization established in 1973. It is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, county, state, university, and federal levels.

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association
PO Box 29626
Washington, DC 20017

Download the statement here


Proclamation on Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, 2020

On Peace Officers Memorial Day and during Police Week, we commend the brave men and women of our law enforcement community for continually summoning the courage to fulfill their solemn oath to protect and serve.  We also pause to remember all those who have lost their lives and who have suffered permanent disabilities defending their communities and the rule of law, including the heroes we have lost this year to the coronavirus.

Throughout our Nation’s history, law enforcement officials have never wavered in the face of crisis or tragedy.  During uncertain times, law enforcement officers bravely face challenges and continue to protect the American people.  They steadfastly ensure the safety of our communities, providing a much needed sense of security for our citizens, and our country is extremely grateful for their efforts.

My Administration remains committed to ensuring our Nation’s Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement officers have the resources and support they need to perform their duties safely and effectively.  Last October, I was proud to sign an Executive Order to establish the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice — the first commission on law enforcement in half a century.  This Commission identifies ways to reduce crime while simultaneously bringing law enforcement officers and the communities they serve closer together.  We have also worked to expand lifesaving programs like the National Blue Alert Network.  Thirty-five States have enacted Blue Alert plans, which provide early warnings to law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public by transmitting Blue Alerts to cell phones, television stations, and other devices.  These alerts disseminate information on suspects who pose an imminent and credible threat to the safety of our officers, and this network demonstrates how we can work together to provide proactive programs, innovative resources, and cutting-edge technology to support and advance our law enforcement personnel.

We must continue working toward a time when all people respect and understand the important work that law enforcement officers do.  Unfortunately, our law enforcement officers do not always receive the respect they deserve.  These brave men and women must operate in an environment where their moral and legal authority is constantly being scrutinized, and they undertake the critical yet difficult task of addressing the actions of those affected by addiction, homelessness, and mental illness.  Their ability to work well in the face of these and other challenges is extraordinary, and we have incredible appreciation for their public service and selflessness.

On behalf of our grateful Nation, we proudly recognize the more than 900,000 sworn members of law enforcement for their resolve and dedication in the face of dangerous uncertainty.  The thoughts and prayers of our Nation are with them and their families, and we will always owe them our appreciation and support.

By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, as amended (Public Law 87-726, 76 Stat. 676), and by section 1 of Public Law 105-225 (36 U.S.C. 136-137), the President has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2020, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 10 through May 16, 2020, as Police Week.  In honor of our hardworking law enforcement officers, Melania and I will light the White House in blue on May 15, 2020.  I call upon all Americans to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  I also call on the Governors of the States and Territories and officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day.  I further encourage all Americans to display the flag from their homes and businesses on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

The White House

- - - - - - - - - - 

On Friday, May 15, 2020, HAPCOA Executive Director Anthony Chapa was invited to participate in the Attorney General’s “Police Week Briefing with America’s Law Enforcement”.  Due to COVID-19 this meeting was held via a conference call.

Invited to dial into this call were over one-thousand senior executives in policing, police survivors and national law enforcement organizations to include HAPCOA.

Present and presenting during this briefing included:  Attorney General William P. Barr; Acting Secretary Department of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf; and Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, James “Jim” Carroll.


HAPCOA's statement to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice

Submitted to the
Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice
On behalf of the
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association

The Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) is a non-profit membership organization established in 1973, and is the oldest and largest association in the U.S. of Hispanic American command officers from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at the municipal, county, state, university and federal levels.

HAPCOA’s mission is to “empower the future of law enforcement” by assisting law enforcement, criminal justice and community organizations nationwide in their efforts to recruit, train and promote qualified Hispanic American men and women committed to a career in the criminal justice arena and to communities in which they serve and protect.

As such, when Attorney General William Barr formed the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, on January 21, 2020, HAPCOA was pleased to see that of the several issues noted as worthy of review and concern included the question:  “How can we improve officer recruitment, training, and retention?”

The mission of HAPCOA is clearly in support of this concern, but our focus goes even deeper into “ways to make American Law Enforcement the most trusted and effective guardians of our communities” as stated by Attorney General Barr.

HAPCOA reports that recruitment of law enforcement officers must include a directed effort at recruiting a diverse workforce.  Quantitative reporting confirms that to hire a diverse workforce the number of individuals ‘recruited’ must exceed the number of non-minority candidates.  Without active recruitment in targeted areas the number of qualified Hispanic candidates will not increase.  But HAPCOA goes to the next level and focuses on the recruitment of experienced Hispanic law enforcement officers into advanced law enforcement training programs, such as forensics, investigations, and leadership, to help improve upon their qualifications to promote into senior leadership roles and attain executive level managerial positions.

HAPCOA reports that training programs from law enforcement academies to in-service training programs are key to keeping officers informed, prepared, technically advanced and safe.  But HAPCOA sees training as an opportunity to focus on topics that are of concern to the diverse communities that we serve and protect.  Developing law enforcement training programs that enhance an officer’s ability to understand community relations, issues concerning cultural bias and language barriers serve as an aide to help navigate the concerns of the community at large while taking into consideration the officers ability to meet the needs of the diverse community that they serve.  Enhanced training may include language courses, cultural awareness courses, and roundtable discussions with community leaders and role-playing opportunities that will enhance officer safety, facilitate trust and increase community involvement and cooperation.

HAPCOA is extremely concerned about the retention of law enforcement officers as well.  As law enforcement departments find that they must freeze hiring or furlough officers, the last hired (members of your diversified workforce) will be the first to go.  While this is a financial concern of city managers, county officials, university presidents, and Governors, it is the diverse communities that will be adversely impacted.  

HAPCOA hopes that the US Congress will address these emerging issues by supporting law enforcement at its local levels with funding and support to keep its law enforcement officers on the beat, communicating with its communities and providing necessary services during this pandemic.

HAPCOA believes that the future of law enforcement is one where our law enforcement officers (and the leadership of these agencies) are reflective of the communities that they serve.  Officers who are well-trained and knowledgeable of their communities needs, issues and problems, are more apt to be successful as they are vested in the community that they serve.  This must also include Hispanic officers who are willing to take leadership roles and effectively command law enforcement functions and responsibilities within their communities.  Today our most diverse communities include our nation’s largest cities, and even our smallest rural communities.  The latest US Census will report that we have become a more diverse nation and that this expansion is not just in a few States but also within a majority of our American States.  

The events which transpired in Ferguson and cities throughout the United States in 2014 were indicators of a the deep-seated resentment among community members who believe their concerns were not being viewed as valid, worthy of attention, or consideration. Law enforcement officers, imbedded as public servants, are entrusted to “maintain the peace” while fostering a safe environment where businesses and neighborhoods thrive. Special attention must be given to understanding the cultural composition of individual communities. Embracing differences and cultivating sameness encourages dialogue with members and may open avenues for change. More than ever, it is crucial to pursue solutions to the issues that are created when members of law enforcement and representatives of our criminal justice system are not reflective of the diverse populations they serve. (HAPCOA Statement regarding Ferguson, MO; posted: December 5, 2014)

HAPCOA has been dedicated to this cause for over 46 years by providing a yearly training symposium that focuses on recruitment, leadership training, mentorship, promotions and topical courses that address the Attorney General’s focus on how to make law enforcement ‘trusted and effective guardians’ of the communities that they protect and serve.

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association
PO Box 29626
Washington, DC 20017

Prepared and submitted on behalf of HAPCOA by:

Anthony Chapa
Executive Director

Chief Teresa Ramon
National President

Richard Rosa  
Immediate Past President

Chief Don Tijerina
National Vice President

Mary Ruiz
National Secretary


HAPCOA Supports the Annual Candlelight Vigil

HAPCOA has supported the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) Annual Candlelight Vigil by attending the annual event, by being selected to read off the names of the fallen and by donations to the Memorial Fund.

This year due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic the annual event, highlighted by the 32nd Annual Candlelight Vigil, has been canceled.  The NLEOMF reports that the pandemic will NOT deter them from honoring the fallen.  

On Wednesday, May 13, at 8 pm (EDT) the NLEOMF plans to move forward in solidarity with a virtual Candlelight Vigil, including the reading of names of officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.  This year the event will honor 307 fallen officers whose names will be engraved onto the Memorial.

To be apart of this years virtual event please visit LawMemorial.org to watch a broadcast of this important and moving ceremony.  

If you wish to support the Memorial Fund please visit the website (LawMemorial.org) or mail your donations to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, PO Box 97072, Washington, DC 20090-7072.  The NLEOMF is a 501©(3) charity organization and your gifts are tax-deductible.


The CARES Act Key Components

Download The CARES Act Key Components PDF >


HAPCOA on Call with Acting Secretary Wolf, DHS

(Washington, DC)  HAPCOA was invited to participate in a conference call with Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with other executives of national law enforcement associations.

This executive briefing was held on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 11am (EST).  On the call and representing HAPCOA were National President Chief Teresa Ramon and Executive Director Anthony Chapa.  

The presentation by Secretary Wolf included a rundown on the efforts of all DHS components responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  He reported that DHS was focused first in RESPONSE (to the COVID-19 crisis), then they would move to a RECOVERY mode (and back to the normal mission of DHS), and then to RESTORATION (supporting the DHS mission of trade and commerce).  He also reported that the MITIGRATION protocols endorsed by the Presidents CoronaVirus Task are working and he encouraged our support of these protocols with our members and the community that we serve.  He reported on the direction provided by FEMA as they worked to support the national effort with funding, the National Guard, the Army Corp of Engineers, FEMA employees and working to support the much needed supply chain (which provided medical equipment and PPE).

The Secretary also reported on the efforts of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they supported changes in international travel and also the changes in support of trade and travel into Mexico and Canada.  He also mentioned the work of the Coast Guard with respect to the cruise line industry.  Also the efforts of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) were discussed with respect to its support of our nations cybersecurity, infrastructure security and our financial sector.  Revised CDC guidelines were discussed that law enforcement/first responding agencies should review regarding when front line responders might be able to return to work if they were exposed to COVID-19 (before the full 14 day quarantine).

A short Q&A followed with questions provided by FOP, National Sheriffs Organization, Major City Sheriffs, IACP and others.  Questions included replacement of local tax dollars that support (and hire) local law enforcement officers, the need for PPE for first line law enforcement responders, concerns regarding jail staffing, classification of law enforcement as first responders by Governors, among other questions.  Others were encouraged to submit questions to the Secretary.  

HAPCOA submitted several questions to include how DHS was planning to communicate with the greater Hispanic communities nationwide (as all of their documents, handouts, flyers and PSA’s are only in English).  They quickly responded by recognizing that they were unaware of any documents prepared in Spanish.  They would be looking to HAPCOA to help with the distribution of these documents once they are created based on our recommendation.  Other questions were regarding hazard duty pay protocols and the need to consider the creation of a medical/survivor fund in support of law enforcement/first responders affected by the CoronaVirus.

It was also later reported to HAPCOA, in follow-up to our questions, that the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that for the purposes of benefits under the PSOB program, officers who die or are disabled due to the COVID-19 will be presumed to have contracted it in the line of duty if it was during the timeframe that the COVID-19 was active and if the officer saw line of duty action during that time period.  DOJ will presume that the Coronavirus will have caused the death.  

Due to the association that HAPCOA has with The Latino Coalition we were able to get help from Andrea R. Ramirez, Ph.D., Special Assistant to the President and Director of Hispanic Engagement, White House Office of Public Liaison, who provided us with the following list of Spanish language websites with information and advise regarding COVID-19:

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America
30 Days to Slow the Spread (PDF)
30 Días Para Desacelerar la Propagación (PDF)
For more updates, visit www.coronavirus.gov (Español)
Assistance for American Workers and Families
Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know (Español)
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Assistance for Small Businesses: SBA.gov/coronavirus (Español)
Paycheck Protection Program: SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection
Find an eligible lender (HERE)
Department of Treasury
COVID-19 Actions and Updates: Treasury.gov/cares
Department of Labor (DOL)
Paid Leave (HERE)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights (Español)
Unemployment Insurance (HERE)
New OSHA Poster Aimed at Reducing Workplace Exposure to the Coronavirus (Español)
Guidance on Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for Self-Employed Workers, Independent Contractors and Gig Workers (HERE)
@LaCasaBlanca (VIDEO)
Additional Spanish resources
Pagina web de enfermedad del Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
Cómo protegerse
Qué hacer si está enfermo  
Personas que necesitan tomar precauciones adicionales
Si está enfermo                                                                                                     
Tome Medidas para Prevenir la Exposición de los Trabajadores al Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Control de rumores del coronavirus
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Orientación y recursos de préstamos para pequeñas empresas

Please share this information with your department and the Spanish speaking community that you serve and protect.  HAPCOA will remain connected and will share valuable information with its membership.  We expect to be invited to a follow-up meeting in the near future.

HAPOCA thanks Ms. Linda Mansour, Director of Engagement, Office of State and Local Law Enforcement, US Department of Homeland Security for ensuring our participation in this call and for getting us an immediate response to our questions and observations.

DHS Command Center

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Department of Homeland Security


DHS Release: COVID-19 Law Enforcement Exposure and Risk Mitigation - Best Practices Resource Guide

Law Enforcement Administrators, Leadership, Officers, and Civilian Staff

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (OSLLE) facilitated the creation of the COVID-19 Exposure and Risk Mitigation Best Practices Resource Guide. Dr. Alexander Eastman, MD, MPH, FACS, FAEMS of The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) provided his medical opinion and reviewed all resources located within the document. The COVID-19 Exposure and Risk Mitigation Best Practices Resource Guide is a needed response to address many of law enforcements concerns and requests for risk mitigation resources. OSLLE hopes that these best practices provide guidance to ensure a strong public safety response and support all officer’s health and well-being.

The COVID-19 Exposure and Risk Mitigation Best Practices Resource Guide covers four (4) main topic areas:

  1. Exposure Levels and Risk Assessment
  2. Personal Protective Equipment for Law Enforcement
  3. Mitigating Risk Through Altered Tactics and Procedures
  4. Exposure Guidance and Decision-Making Tools


Special Thank You to Law Enforcement and Those that Support Them

The Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (OSLLE) wants to thank all of the individual law enforcement personnel for your critical efforts to protect our communities, particularly during this ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 has thrust our communities into unknown territory, and we recognize this may be a frightening time for many law enforcement personnel and their families. Officers are encountering community members at a heightened state of anxiety, which can make their daily jobs even more dangerous. In addition, many within your agencies and their families may be suffering substantial changes in health status and/or financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our greatest sympathies go out to all of you who are and may be impacted. 

OSLLE will continue to place its full weight and resources behind our response to COVID-19. From organizing informational calls, publicizing real-time critical information, and acting as advocates for your needs, OSLLE is assisting in driving a federal, state, and local collaborative response to prioritize the health and safety of our law enforcement partners. 

We applaud your efforts to fight for, care for, and empower your communities. Law enforcements continued contribution to the safety and protection of our Nation is paramount, particularly during this unprecedented situation, and is a testament to their true patriotism.

Our hope at OSLLE and across the Federal Government is that our law enforcement community is supported and resourced during these difficult times. We are on your side!