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Refugio Police Chief Andy Lopez sworn in
by Kenda Nelson
Oct 07, 2010 | 5112 views | 12 12 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Rey Jaso presents Police Chief Andy Lopez with a badge and patch Friday morning following a swearing-in ceremony attended by a standing-room-only crowd of well-wishers.
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Law enforcement officers from across South Texas packed into the Refugio City Council chamber on Friday to watch Andy Lopez take the oath of office as Refugio’s new police chief.

Texas Rangers, troopers, sheriffs, deputies, police chiefs and officers stood around the room. Family, friends, officials and citizens filled the chairs while the overflow crowd meandered in the hallway just outside the chamber.

Mayor Rey Jaso issued the oath and presented Lopez with a badge and a patch.

“I’ve got ties to Refugio,” Lopez told the crowd. “My parents brought me to this town when I was a kid and I swam in the public pool.”

“I’m taking on a new career,” he said. “I’ve pretty much been a field soldier; now I’ll have more of an administrative role.”

In a tumultuous year for the police department, the town’s former police chief was indicted on three felony counts last September and is now awaiting trial early next year. The interim police chief was asked to resign.

But Lopez said he does not see the past as a black cloud hanging over the department so he will not make judgments or look back but concentrate on moving the department forward.

“As we move forward in the right direction, our actions will speak for themselves,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement, no matter where you go. And there is no such thing as knowing too much.

“I think it’s important for the community to have a sense of security and confidence and we hope to re-instill that for the town of Refugio if there was that perception (of a black cloud). They deserve that.”

The new chief said that the immediate changes will be more procedural and may not be so evident to the community right away.

“I want to have an open door policy and I want people to be comfortable coming here,” he said. “This is their police department so they deserve for things to be done in a professional, genuine, ethical manner.”

Ranger Tony DeLuna of Sinton said he’ll miss Lopez.

“I believe that Refugio is a winner in this,” DeLuna added. “He’s a very thorough investigator. He doesn’t let emotions get in the way of an investigation. I have his number so I’ll still bounce things off him.”

Lopez’s former supervisor, Lt. Victor Escalon of Laredo, said Lopez will “take care of business.”

“He’s a man of integrity and professionalism with a strong work ethic,” Escalon said. “He treats everybody with respect and it’s been an honor to work with him and know him. He’ll bring professionalism to the job.”

Retired Corpus Christi Police Detective Paul Rivera also stated high regard for Lopez.

“He’s a man of integrity,” Rivera said.

Rivera, the lead detective in the Selena homicide, retired from the CCPD, and was the Taft police chief before retiring from that position.

“This is the place I want to stay,” Lopez said. “I like Refugio. This town has the heart of a champion... that’s a winner all the way around.”

Ranger Robert Garza of Corpus Christi said he estimated several hundred years of law enforcement experience was in the room.

Lopez comes to the department as a former Army military policeman and dog handler for five years, a Houston Police Department officer for two years before becoming a DPS trooper and finally, a Texas Ranger.

A shootout between Lopez and a drug dealer that occurred on Sept. 21, 1991, on U.S. 77 south of Refugio, remains a significant teaching tool for young troopers entering the academy. In textbook fashion, Lopez dodged bullets by running in a zigzag pattern.

“There’s no telling how many young officers have seen that video,” DeLuna said.
Comments
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lochoa
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October 21, 2010
Thats it with Bobby the courthouse is the safest it has ever been his deputies back up is one table or booth away at all times when out on patrol the back up is parked backward and forward with the driver side window 14 inches from one another back up cant get any closer.
lochoa
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October 21, 2010
you can feel secure in the city of refugio not the whole county. How does a sheriff and his deputis keep a county secure when they rarely leave the city of refugio and think the only place that needs to be patrolled in the county is hwy 77? As far as our last sheriff he knocked it out of the park when it came to being a law man. He was everywhere.
markmin
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October 21, 2010
Maybe the past sheriff Petropolous knew about the crimes that the past Refugio Chief was committing which got the chief indicted. Petropoulous was a highway patrolman for 20 years and knew how to be a lawman. I felt 100% more secure with him as sheriff and felt that he would do something about crime instead of just listening. Several punk dope dealers went back to their own county after a little talk with Petropolous. Deputies also did their jobs when he was sheriff or he canned them.

Lets all hope Chief Lopez changes his title to Sheriff Lopez - Refugio County - and bring real law enforcement back to our county.
ccfapo
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October 21, 2010
I just hope they can get along and work together. The last sheriff (cant pronounce his name) and the past police chief did not get along. personal issues I guess. I am just thankful that now with both Andy and sheriff bocheck we can feel secure throughout the county not like the last sheriff.
lochoa
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October 20, 2010
ccfapo you got it all wrong me and Bobby are on a first name basis. I go in his office or call him anytime I want to. He has never been a problem for me. Heck I love the guy. I just think he soft on some people he shouldnt be. I do agree his hands are sometimes tied by lazy attorneys and no good judges. Shoot man Bobby has more of a criminal history than I do. I have nothing against Bobby personally he just aint a git r done kind of cop like I know Andy Lopez is. If there is any County in Texas that needs a Sheriff like the kind Lopez will be its Refugio County.
ccfapo
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October 20, 2010
It seems Lochoa that you may have had problems at one point with the present sheriff. I dont consider him a personal friend but I have had to talk with him on a problem I had at the time. It also had to do with, lets say a prominent family of refugio county. He did not show any favortism and took care and advised me of what to do. and it came out all right. I have not seen or heard of this sheriff being bias or predujuce against anyone. I think he considers both sides, before making judgement. Oh I do like mr lopez and hope he does a good job.
lochoa
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October 19, 2010
I agree with seeing what kind of job he does. I have to say that years ago In my stupid teenage years I received more than a few speeding tickets. Out of several DPS officers Mr. Lopez Was most consistent in respect fairness and friendliness. He's is the only one I can remember ever shaking his hand and thanking him for doing his job then driving away with a smile. An open door policy is OK but equality and fairness in enforcing all laws is more important. There are to many families in Refugio County that do not believe in consistently equal and fair law enforcement. The present Sheriff is their kind of law enforcer. A good Sheriff doesnt decide what laws to enforce if its the law and its been broken enforce it no matter who or what their last name is. I believe Lopez does that.
ccfapo
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October 19, 2010
We definetly need to wait and see what king of job he will do. Remember the last DPS we elected. Once DPS always DPS. And I also think the county sheriff we have now is doing a good job. At least the times I have been to see him, his door was open not closed like the last one.
lochoa
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October 15, 2010
To bad it wasnt for county sheriff oh well maybe a couple years from now.