HAPCOA Announces Aguila Award Winners

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 2018 Awards will be recognized and presented their awards at the Aguila Awards luncheon to be held on May 1, 2019 at the HAPCOA 45th Annual National Law Enforcement Training Symposium. The Aguila Awards Luncheon to be held at the Embassy Suites, Baltimore MD Inner Harbor.

HAPCOA National President Rich Rosa announced that the HAPCOA Aguila Awards committee reviewed submissions and made the following selections:


Hector Hernandez
Special Agent in Charge
Vice Presidential Protection Division
United States Secret Service
Washington, DC

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.


Gold Medal of Valor Awards:

Special Agent Victor Avila (retired), and
Special Agent Jaime Zapata (posthumously)
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Homeland Security Investigations
Department of Homeland Security
US Embassy, Mexico City, Mexico

Presented to an individual(s), who while on official duty, performed beyond the call, exemplifying courage and boldness.

Silver Medal for Meritorious Conduct: 

Special Agent Omar Lopez
Assistant Director
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Washington, DC

Presented to an individual, who has performed meritorious work in Law Enforcement.

Bronze Medal for Community Service:

Cathy Sanz
Executive Director
Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
Washington, DC

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. 

The Harris Innovation in Investigations Award:

Nelson Rivera
United States Postal Inspection Service
Seattle, WA

This award is presented to an individual, group or task force that uses emerging technology and cyber security tools to advance the investigative mission of law enforcement.

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The HAPCOA Aguila 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 with honor, duty and courage.


Latinos Lead Federal Law Enforcement Agencies in Los Angeles in 2012

HAPCOA Salutes Jesus "Chuy" Rangel on having his art piece entitled Los Chingónes de Califas” being selected to be made part of the permanent collection at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum in Albuquerque, NM.  

The art piece noted below is a rendition of a historic meeting of the 7 heads of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies in Los Angeles back in 2012.  Not before or since have all the leaders of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies in Los Angeles been Hispanic and all proud members of HAPCOA. 

Pictured in this painting are Richard Garcia (retired Assistant Director of FBI Los Angeles Division),  seated: John Torres (retired then Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Los Angeles), Adam Torres (retired then US Marshal), Jorge Urquijo (retired Special Agent in Charge of the EPA CID Los Angeles), Tony Chapa (retired then Special Agent in Charge of the US Secret Service Los Angeles Field Office), one knee, Stephen Delgado (retired then Special Agent in Charge Los Angeles Field Division) and Oscar Villanueva (then Inspector in Charge of the US Postal Inspection Service Los Angeles Field Office).  The back drop for this picture is the Alamo village at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.  The costumes were provided by friends at Sony Pictures.

An upcoming art show at the National Cultural Center Art Museum, entitled "Que Chola", will include the art work of 29 Latino artists to include 'Chuy'.  If you are in the area you are invited to attend the opening reception which will be held on Friday, March 8th from 6pm - 9pm and its free to the public.  The exhibit runs from March 8 through August 4, 2019.


Promotional Seminar


HAPCOA Congratulates SAC Ivan Acosta, NCIS

HAPCOA National Board Vice President Ivan Acosta, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), was recently promoted to Special Agent in Charge (GS-15) – Congratulations!, Felicidades!, Tahniah!  This promotion will make Ivan one of the highest ranked Hispanics within the NCIS.  Ivan is presently posted with NCIS in the Washington DC area.

This position of Special Agent in Charge is for the NCIS Southeast Asia Field Office based out of Singapore.

This position includes responsibility for criminal investigation, operations and National Security activities across the entire Southeast Asia region in support of the Department of the Navy’s interests.  In addition, the assignment includes oversight over NCIS presence and activities throughout the region including subordinate offices such as Force Protection Detachments (FPD) within the US Embassy Manila, Philippines; FPD US Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; FPD US Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia; FPD US Embassy Bangkok, Thailand; and FPD US Embassy Sydney, Perth and Darwin Australia (to only name a few!).

HAPCOA salutes Mr. Acosta and wish him the best of luck with his new posting and executive law enforcement responsibilities!


Deputy Assistant Secretary Alonzo Pena, ICE/DHS (retired) is remembered by HAPCOA

Alonzo Peña


Mr. Alonzo Peña was the President and Founder of DMEP based in San Antonio, TX. Mr. Peña previously served as the former Deputy Assistant Secretary/Deputy Director of ICE/DHS and also served as the DHS Attaché in Mexico, City, Mexico where he represented the Secretary of Homeland Security to the highest levels of Mexican law enforcement, military and political officials.

Mr. Peña oversaw and directed some 20,000 federal employees and an annual operating budget in excess of $5 billion during his federal executive career and he routinely interacted with Cabinet Level and White House officials as the ICE Deputy Director. Mr. Peña was recognized as establishing and the directing force for the now highly successful DHS Border Enforcement Task Force (BEST) initiative that brought together the combined efforts of hundreds of state, local and federal officers responding to critical incidents and security threats that arise on the highly volatile Southwest border.

Mr. Peña was a graduate of Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas and has completed additional post graduate training at the U.S. Customs Service Graduate School of Management at National-Louis University; the Advanced Executive Leadership Training Course from the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va.; and the Senior Executive Fellowship Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Peña was a member of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA).

HAPCOA Panama Chapter: Esteban Blis (US Army-retired), Erik Moncayo (CBP/ US Embassy PTY), Tony Chapa (HAPCOA Executive Director), Alonzo Pena (ICE-retired) and Eddie Dollan (HSI/DHS US Embassy PTY).


HAPCOA LA Chapter Swears in New Board

(Los Angeles)  The newly formed HAPCOA LA Chapter held its Holiday Mixer on December 12, 2018 at the Yxta Cocina Mexicana Restaurant in Los Angeles.

Over 125 people attended this law enforcement holiday event, which included newly appointed Undersheriff Ray Leyva who served as National President of HAPCOA in 2006-2007. Other notables who attended in support of HAPCOA included: Alma Burke, LAWPOA- President, Armando Perez, La Ley, President, Jenny Wong, LEAAP, President, Chris Waters, NOBLE, President and members of the BPOA, LASD. Long time supporter of HAPCOA LA Mr. Faddoul Baida served as Master of Ceremony.  Members of the LAPD Law Enforcement Cadet program presented the Colors. 

The newly formed HAPCOA LA Chapter board was sworn-in by Judge Scott Gordon. 

Sworn in were:  Chapter President: Assistant Chief Robert Arcos, LAPD; Vice President: Assistant Sheriff Maria Gutierrez, LASD; Secretary: Deputy Sonia Castro, LASD; Treasurer: Captain Alex Vargas, LAPD; Sergeant at Arms, Captain Al Labrada, LAPD,  

Funds committed by Dr. Amed Lopez and Mr. Faddoul Baida will help the LA Chapter form and fund its Law Enforcement Scholarship program.

The event was supported by a number of employee associations to welcome HAPCOA’s LA Chapter back!  

Submitted by:
ROBERT N. ARCOS, Assistant Chief
Director, Office of Operations 

New HAPCOA LA Chapter Board Members:  Alex Vargas (Treasurer), Al Labrada (Sgt-at-Arms); Sonia Castro (Secretary), Maria Gutierrez (Vice President) and Robert Arcos (President).

Faddoul Baida, Ray Leyva, Maria Gutierrez, Gerard Orozco and Bob Arcos

LAPD Cadet Color Guard


1000 Food baskets distributed to families in our local community

(Prince George’s County, Maryland) The Hispanic American Police Command Officers’ Association-National Capitol Region (HAPCOA-NCR), the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association (HNLEA), the United Black Police Officers’ Association (UBPOA), the Hispanic Officers Law Enforcement Association (HOLEA) and the Association Police Attaché Latin America (APALA) offer a helping hand in Langley Park, Maryland.

This coalition of minority law enforcement groups gave well over 1000 needy residents a great holiday boost when it provided much needed food baskets and bicycles during its 18th Annual Food Baskets Drive for Needy Families.  The event took place on December 14, 2018 at 8102 Tahona Drive in Langley Park, Maryland. 

Present were Deputy Secretary of State, Luis Borunda, Malcolm Augustine, Maryland State Senator representing District 47, Miguel Martinez, the president of the Hispanic Officers Law Enforcement Association (HOLEA), Vice President Miguel Rodriguez of the Hispanic Officers Law Enforcement Association (HOLEA) and other local community leaders.

HAPCOA-NCR President, Joe Perez said, “distributing over 1000 food baskets far exceeded HNLEA’s expectations, but it’s a testament to the human spirit displayed by many of our Police Officers, business owners, and the community members who now help prepare and distribute the food baskets.  For the most part the Annual Christmas Basket food drive is our primary yearly event.  Ninety percent of the donations are in the way of food from MEGA Mart a local community-based business.”

HNLEA Vice President, Miguel Core said, “I’m very happy we can help our community during these tough times.  It is especially gratifying to see the smiles on the faces of the children when they receive a bicycle for Christmas during our food drive.”

United Black Police Officers’ Association President, Thomas Boone said, “As police officers, the communities frequently sees only our tough side, the side of us responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining order.  But events such as this brings us in contact with the community’s needs and represent the positive side of what our police officers are really about.  Helping the community.”


HAPCOA Attends Research Summit on Women in Policing

(Washington DC) The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) hosted a Research Summit on Women in Policing in Washington, DC, December 3 & 4, 2018.  The summit was designed to bring together line, mid-rank and executive police officers, researchers, international experts and professional associations to explore current literature on women in policing; identify barriers to recruitment, retention, and promotion; explore the realities that women working in the policing field face; and identify promising practices for increasing representation and improving culture. 

The results and findings of the summit will be published in a special report, published by the National Institute of Justice, which will be used to chart a course for future research on the topic of women in policing.

HAPCOA National President Rich Rosa attended the summit in Washington, DC. along with Vera Bumper – President (NOBLE), Kathy Sanz – Executive Director (WIFLE) and Kym Craven – Executive Director (NAWLEE). 

NIJ offers a 3-year developmental opportunity to mid-career police personnel utilizing research as a means to communicate law enforcement policies and practices.  This opportunity is through the LEADS Scholars program and applications will become available in April 2019.  The below link to the NIJ website provides more information.

Program Activities

Scholars join the program for three years during which they:

  • Attend the IACP Annual Conference and a summer session at NIJ headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  • Meet with Department of Justice and IACP Leadership
  • Serve as NIJ peer reviewers.
  • Network with leading criminal justice researchers
  • Undertake data-driven research.  


Kym Craven (NAWLEE) and Vera Bumpers (NOBLE) with Pres. Rich Rosa

Cynthia Shain (Southern Policing Institute and ICITAP) with Pres. Rich Rosa


HAPCOA’s Ray Leyva selected to serve as LA County Undersheriff

(Los Angeles)  Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect Alex Villanueva (to be sworn in on Monday, December 3, 2018) has named Ray Leyva to become his undersheriff.

Leyva, while serving with the LA County Sheriff’s Department was elected to the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA) National Board and then served as its National President from 2006 to 2007.

Leyva retired as a Commander with the Sheriff’s Department in 2016 after 25 years of service.  Leyva had previously run for Sheriff in 2006.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles.

Sheriff-elect Villanueva, who is Puerto Rican, served with the LA County Sheriff’s Department for 30 years before retiring as a lieutenant.

Ray Leyva, LA County Undersheriff


HAPCOA Attends DOJ/COPS Law Enforcement Roundtable

(Washington DC)  HAPCOA was invited by the Department of Justice / COPS Office to send a representative to attend and participate in its Law Enforcement Roundtable.  San Antonio HAPCOA Chapter President Chief Deputy Don Tijerina attended the event whose topic was "Improving the Identification and Reporting of Hate Crimes".  This event was held at the COPS Office in Washington, D.C. on October 29th and 30th, 2018. The goal of this Roundtable was to coordinate the DOJ's efforts to eradicate hate crimes and facilitate outreach to law enforcement agencies and the public.   

Some of the solutions discussed were to standardize the definition of a hate crime and hate crime incidents across the nation; more training on identifying and reporting of hate crimes; and the establishing of hate crimes/anti-bias/civil rights units (even if only one person) in all agencies throughout the nation.

The event was attended by the DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein.

Attendees included members of Law Enforcement Agencies and National Organizations.