Police Chief Jose L. Lopez has received the 2008 NLPOA Law Enforcement Leadership Award from the National Latino Peace Officers Association.
“I am very proud and honored to receive this award. I hope it inspires other younger officers to pursue a leadership career,” Lopez said in a statement. “Coming into the law enforcement profession nearly 30 years ago, there was not a lot of Latino representation in policing, never mind in management. I didn’t have anyone to mentor me and many said it was impossible for a Latino to rise to the level of chief.”
Lopez became Durham’s police chief in September 2007 after serving more than 23 years with the Hartford, Conn., Police Department where he retired as assistant chief. In Hartford, Lopez was the first Latino officer to reach every rank from sergeant to assistant chief and the first Latino officer to manage several different divisions and units.