HAPCOA, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, established in 1973, 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 and federal levels. With members in hundreds of agencies across the United States and Puerto Rico, many of whom are active in local chapters, HAPCOA is a national organization with a local presence.
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, mentor 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. Additionally HAPCOA serves to assist in the promotion and development of Hispanic’s in law enforcement and to serve as an advocate for Hispanic law enforcement issues.
HAPCOA members have attained a high level of success within their respective law enforcement agencies.
Through HAPCOA, chiefs of police, sheriffs and police superintendents from around the country are committed to meeting the challenges of selection, promotion and retention of Hispanic American men and women in professional law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The courageous men and women of HAPCOA also work diligently to address the concerns of their respective communities and improve community relations through the implementation of innovative, state-of-the art training and educational programs.
HAPCOA members have attained a high level of success within their respective law enforcement agencies, offices and departments through their professional dedication and personal commitment. As they continue to make significant contributions to law enforcement, these exemplary officers serve as positive professional role models for aspiring young law enforcement officers.
Membership in HAPCOA offers professional development opportunities to its members through an annual national training symposium. Each year, at the symposium, HAPCOA recognizes the extraordinary contributions of individuals and organizations through its Aguila Awards program. In addition, membership in HAPCOA offers an information-sharing and support network for all Hispanics in law enforcement. Members may participate in the events and activities of any local chapter and also have access to HAPCOA’s National newsletter. HAPCOA also offers education and training in the Hispanic community both at the local chapter, as well as at the national levels.
HAPCOA grant programs are approximately 95% federally-funded. The annual national training symposium is made possible through corporate sponsorships and registration fees. All other initiatives rely exclusively on membership support – i.e., annual dues.
HAPCOA Past Presidents
Left to Right:
Frank Hernandez, NCIS (2005-2006)
Ray Leyva, Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (2006-2007)
Jim Pina, Phoenix Police Department (2007-2008)
Hector Hernandez, US Secret Service (2008-2010)
Tony Cox, NCIS (2010-2011)
Joaquin Herran, Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (2011-2012)
Paul Chapa, Trinity University (2012-2013)
Letter from the President
I am truly blessed and privileged to again be of service as your National President this year as we proudly celebrate the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association’s (HAPCOA) 50th anniversary in 2023!
During my 30 years of service, I have witnessed positives and negatives and ups and downs, but one significant area of my career which has been a source of pride and joy throughout, has been my membership in HAPCOA. I shall never forget all those who have come before, giving of themselves and made this the premier Hispanic Police Command organization in existence, and I intend that this association will be properly positioned to excel for the next 50 years and beyond. Understanding the continuing evolution of our profession and the world, working alongside our National Board, I pledge to keep our organization relevant and adaptable to meet the needs all of our members, from the newest to the most “experienced”. Just as our communities and nation are made of many diverse people and cultures, our association is comprised of many different types of agencies with many missions, and I will strive to listen; communicate; and represent all interests to the best of my ability.
We are stronger together, not only as an association, but working cooperatively with the numerous affinity groups and other law enforcement associations we have partnered with in the past, and I will ensure we continue those valued partnerships to further the ideals and beliefs we all share.
Recognizing the tremendous future potential of our international efforts, this year our first HAPCOA Ambassador for International Relations was appointed to champion and manage the continually increasing growth of HAPCOA reach across international boundaries. Our Ambassador will coordinate with exiting chapters and supporters and provide updates to the Executive Board on happenings throughout the international arena.
Please join us November 13-16 in San Antonio, Texas at the Valencia Hotel for our National Symposium for training, networking and reinvigorating our commitments to mentoring the future of law enforcement and celebrate our 50th anniversary.
Chief of Police, Southside ISD Police Department
HAPCOA National President