Deputy Probation Officer Lopez
On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, DPO Lopez and Detective Sandoval were assisting with a multi-agency Probation/Post Release Community Supervision operation in the City of Tustin. They were traveling eastbound on McFadden Avenue, approaching Pasadena Avenue (also known as “BAM” sector of C.T.A.P.S). Based on their continuous gang suppression in this area, DPO Lopez recognized the driver and the passenger of a nearby vehicle as members of a local violent street gang.
The vehicle had expired registration and DPO Lopez and Detective Sandoval conducted a vehicle stop on Williams, north of McFadden. Detective Sandoval contacted the driver who showed signs of being under the influence. DPO Lopez continued to talk to the passenger (who was not on probation or parole) while Detective Sandoval was evaluating the driver. He noticed the passenger was extremely nervous during the conversation. Based on DPO Lopez’ extensive knowledge in the gang subculture and this specific gang known to carry firearms, he asked the passenger to step out of the vehicle. Due to DPO Lopez’ calm demeanor, the subject advised he had a firearm in his waistband.
The subject was detained in handcuffs, and DPO Lopez removed a loaded .32 caliber revolver from his waistband. The revolver was loaded with six hollow-point rounds. Both subjects were arrested for the firearm and for a quantity of methamphetamine. DPO Lopez’ superior investigative skills coupled with his ability to speak to violent gang members, he was able to get both subjects to acknowledge their gang affiliation and the fact they knew about the gun.
Based on his investigation, the Orange County District Attorney’s office has filed numerous charges with gang enhancements against both subjects. DPO Lopez’ actions are in keeping with the highest standards of the law enforcement profession, Orange County Probation Department, and the Tustin Police Department. For his professional demeanor, dedication and diligence, Deputy Probation Officer Lopez has been selected as the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Officer of the Month Award for November 2014. Congratulations Deputy Probation Officer Lopez!