HISTORY OF THE
JOAB O. PACILLAS
1973 - 1990
The HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL LATINO PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION should be a chronological record of events depicting the development of the organization from its initial stages to the present time. At the same time, it should be recognized that the history of any organization is only as authentic as the sources from which the information is obtained.
A great amount of time and effort went into the formation of the LPOA but unfortunately very little information is available from 1974 to 1976 to accurately describe the struggles that its original founders had to face. Therefore, this first attempt to tell the story of the LPOA does not end here. This history will be revised and updated as some of the missing information is supplied by those who are knowledgeable about past events.
This writer had to resort for information, in this instance, to whatever was printed in the LPOA News, which was first published in 1976, and later in the El Puente. Therefore, it is possible that some information may be missing and that proper credit has not been given to numerous persons who were instrumental in starting and helping develop this great organization.
John Parraz (deceased), Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and Vicente Calderon, California Highway Patrol, San Jose Office were very much aware of the small number of Latino Peace Officers throughout the State of California, and in 1972 they started to talk to other individuals regarding the need for an Organization that could help improve the representation of Latino Peace Officers in the various Departments in California. A great number of hours and personal time was expended until these two officers were able to gather a small nucleus of Officers made up of members of Law Enforcement Agencies from Alameda, Sacramento, Santa Clara Counties, and the San Joaquin Valley.
These men were leaders and truly dedicated to the Goals and Objectives of an Organization that was still in its embryonic stage. One of these leaders, co-founder, and the First State President, John Parraz, passed away in March 1979. This gave impetus to a rededication of time and effort by those remembering the unselfish contributions made by this courageous Sergeant from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
On August 7, 1974, the Articles of Incorporation of the Latino Peace Officers Association of California were filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, March Fong Eu. This step was taken after three years of unofficial meetings with a few interested Peace Officers working in the counties of Alameda, Santa Clara, Sacramento, and the San Joaquin Valley.
This historical event, unprecedented in the history of any State or National Law Enforcement oriented organization, gave official recognition to a Hispanic Law Enforcement group, from all levels, legitimately concerned with increasing the number of Latinos in Law Enforcement agencies in California. The successful and sincere efforts of its members have come to command the respect of other professional organizations and local communities that previously looked at Hispanic Peace Officers with distrust.
Five courageous Peace Officers signed their name to this historical document at the risk of eliciting negative comments from their fellow officers and their departments. Their unselfish and unrelenting commitment to the goals of recruitment, hiring, training, retention and promotion of qualified Hispanics into the field of law enforcement, has been an inspiration to other officers who have continued to work towards these goals.
The original signers of the incorporation documents were: John Parraz (deceased), Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department; Vicente Calderon, California Highway Patrol, San Jose Office; John Aleman, Oakland Police Department; Mariano Flores, California Highway Patrol, Fresno Office; and Richard Reyes (deceased), San Jose Police Department.
The first Annual State Convention was held at the Paraiso Restaurant in Fresno, California, on November 23, 1974, under the presidency of John Parraz. This could have been called “An Organizational Convention”. The whole morning session centered around the structure, purpose, objectives, membership, and the Constitution and By-Laws of the newly-formed Latino Peace Officers Association.
The Luncheon Speaker was Dr. Armando Morales, Author of “Ando Sangrando”. A panel discussion was held in the afternoon on “Latinos In Law Enforcement”. The moderator for this panel was Richard Reyes. The two speakers were: Daniel Campos, Director of Affirmative Action and Al Villa, Attorney at Law.
It can safely be assumed that there was a great deal of interest expressed during the first convention and the interest generated continued to grow as the years went by. Unfortunately, there is very little documentation of minutes for meetings/correspondence from its original members that would indicate or show what activities each chapter was undertaking. Therefore, this information is missing from the History of the Latino Peace Officers Association. Elections were held and Vicente Calderon was elected President for the year 1975-76.
The Latino Peace Officers Newsletter was developed in 1975 by Barbara Rodriguez (Ponze), Rosamaria Hernandez and Vicente Calderon who was also the first editor. Mr. Fred Caballero, a friend who operated a printing company was very instrumental in assisting with the lay out and printing of this first rate newsletter. The newsletter was published on less than a shoe string budget, and Mr. Caballero’s time, energy and material were donated. We hounded poor Fred so much that he would say, “son como borachos, tercos y necios!”. The initial newsletter format consisted of two pages with information on both sides of the sheets.
There is no doubt that the four chapters that had been formed up to this time had difficulty getting started with their membership drives. Some of the Chapters had meetings in which minutes were taken. However, the only information available so far is on meetings held by Alameda and Santa Clara County Chapters.
The Santa Clara County Chapter had approximately 30 members, 22 of them were from the San Jose Police Department. The Chapter officers were: Richard Reyes, President; Lou Cobarrubias, Vice President; Carlos Paredes, Recording Secretary; and Ray Mendiola, Corresponding Secretary. Ray Mendiola, exhorted the membership into getting more involved by attending more meetings. He felt that discussions had to continue on important and relevant issues affecting Latino Peace Officers.
At that time, The San Jose Police Department had 445 officers of which only 34 (7.6%) had Spanish Surnames. The main issue at hand was a Civil Rights investigation conducted as the result of the allegation that the City of San Jose was in violation of Office of Revenue Sharing hiring requirements, and that the Police Department discriminated against Mexican-Americans because of their national origin. Yet, the Mexican-American population of San Jose was approximately twenty-two percent (22%). Soon after these statistics were published, eight (8) Spanish-Surname officers were eliminated from the Field Officers Training Program. This meant that the percentage of Hispanics in the San Jose Police Department dropped to (1.8%). This issue was of great importance to the San Jose LPOA Chapter and had important implications which could affect other Police Departments, not only in California, but any city where Revenue Sharing monies were expended.
On August 6, 1975, the Director of the Office of Revenue Sharing, John K. Parker, wrote a letter to Mayor Janet Hayes requesting that the City of San Jose implement its Affirmative Action Plan to include specific goals and time tables until the Police Department reflected the percentage of minorities in that City, and that the City of San Jose validate the Field Training Program. Some of the other requests made were that the City reinstate, with back pay, the Mexican-American Officers who were fired via the Field Training Program.
The following offices were reinstated: Gilbert DeHoyos, Greg Montoya, Luis Lopez, Hugo Gonzales, Daniel Mercado, Manuel Nunez, M. Rios, E. Hurtado, M. Higuera, N. Cordova, and Art Paniagua, Oakland Police Department; S. Ferdin and Jerry Ornelas, East Bay Regional Parks District; R. Cruz, San Leandro Police Department; J. Leon, Union City Police Department; and M Hinojose, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In 1976 Association members testified before the California State Personnel Board, along with a Japanese group from San Francisco regarding the height entrance requirement for the California Highway patrol. As a result of our presentation, the height requirement was eliminated, opening the door for admission to the CHP for women and minorities who until then had been denied entrance due to statue.
Also, L.P.O.A. initiated bilingual pay within the California Highway patrol. As a result, the majority of large police agencies within the state of California implemented the program. Later, additional state agencies were authorized bilingual pay. Since then, bilingual pay has become part of the negotiations process throughout the United States. Recruitment of new members into the Alameda County chapter was one of the main objectives for this group. This chapter’s membership felt that the local chapters needed all the help to get the organization really going and that it was the responsibility to the “mother” chapters to meet the need of the home chapters first before expanding to other parts of the state.
In the meantime, an interesting phenomenon was taking place in the Southern part of the State. A young and energetic California Highway Patrolman, Carlos Cruz, Pomona Office, was busy trying to start an LPOA Chapter in San Bernardino. Carlos, out of curiosity like many others, attended the First LPOA Convention in Fresno in 1974. He also thought that it would be a good idea for Latino “policemen” to get together and exchange ideas on how to better the plight of the Hispanics in Law Enforcement. However, the members of the San Bernardino group balked at the idea of joining the State LPOA Organization. The San Bernardino groups concern seemed legitimate due to the newness of the Association.
For example, they wanted to know if the State Organization was made up of a large and rigid group of “Northerners” who would be unconcerned with the needs of the people “in the South”. Some of the questions asked were: What does the State Organization have to offer? What impute will the southern Chapters have that will have an impact on their concerns? Why is a State Organization necessary? And, how does the LPOA intend to accomplish its goals?
On April 14, 1975, three members of the State Board traveled to San Bernardino to meet with a group of the local Peace Officers to try to assuage some of their concerns by answering their questions. The State Officers included President Vicente Calderon, Sgt. at Arms Ray Mendiola, and LPOA NEWS LETTER Editor, Louis Cabarrubias. The meeting went well and the San Bernardino group voted to join the state LPOA. There was also a group of Police Officers from San Diego who wanted to find out what the LPOA was all about. This group had already formed an organization, La Placa Social, in the south and were considering joining the Latino Peace Officers Association.
The Latino Peace Officers Association is now comprised of twenty eight Chapters and has become a National Organization. The Following are the Chapters in California: Sacramento, Sonoma, Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Tulare, Fresno, San BERNADINO/Riverside, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Orange, San Diego, North San Diego, LA Metro, East Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, Kern, and Coachella Valley. The Chapters in other states are: Clark County and Washoe County in Nevada, Houston Metro, Greater Dallas, and Tarrant County in Texas, and there are Chapters in Arizona, Kansas City, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Massachusetts.
1. Recruitment of qualified Latino Peace Officers
2. Recruitment and assistance to those officers while engaged in their probation periods.
3. Education. Encourage and assist officers in the participation of training and educational programs in their respective
4. Assistance for members to engage in the promotional process.
Beyond these objectives, the Chapters have extended their concern by reaching out into their communities by responding to their needs in various ways, and according to the needs of each individual community.
In 1995, Proposition 187 passed in California which motivated legal Hispanic residents to become United States Citizens. Andrew J. Cruz, President of the Sacramento Chapter, developed and coordinated an annual “Citizenship Day” event, using chapter members along with other community groups like La Cooperativa. The group provided free finger printing, identification photographs, and assistance filling out I.N.S. forms. This unselfish effort and important community service helped thousands of legal residents become United States Citizens.
When California Highway Patrol crash data indicated that the incidence of Hispanic people involved in fatal motor vehicle collisions was significantly higher than the general population, Jorge Chaidez, from the Fresno Chapter, developed a program called the El Protector Program for the California Highway Patrol. This program was a pro-active traffic safety outreach program directed at the Hispanic community. This bilingual/bicultural program provided public education through dialogue with the Hispanic community. Jorge’s radio talk show proved to be the most effective phase of the program.
The interest in youth has prompted chapters to sponsor a variety of fund raising functions to raise money for scholarships to help young people interested in entering the Criminal Justice System. Ruben Sanchez, President of the Sonoma Chapter, working with Rene Lopez, Vice President, formed a committee that developed a perpetual scholarship fund through the Santa Rosa Junior College System in memory of Deputy Drank Trejo, who was killed in the line of duty. On the committee were Teresa Guererro, Jose Avila, Daniel Marquez, and Louis Nunez.
Christmas baskets have been a traditional project on a yearly basis for chapters. Gabe Cervantez, President of the Alameda Chapter, developed a program that provides Christmas baskets and hot meals to hundreds of needy families in Oakland California. Local community people and organizations have welcomed these valuable donations.
The interest in youth has also prompted chapters to sponsor Mentor Programs, Role Model Programs, Tutoring Programs as well as Anti-Gang Seminars, to assist young people interested in entering the Criminal Justice System as Police, Probation/Parole, and Correctional Officers; District Attorney Investigators, Deputy Sheriffs, and other Municipal, County, State, and Federal Peace Officers related fields.
Senior Citizens groups, a growing segment of the communities, have also benefited from the concern of the LPOA members. Breakfasts, dances and other recreational activities have been sponsored by LPOA.
One of the projects close to every member’s heart is the concern for fellow officers and family members of those who have died or have been injured in the line of duty. Contributions have been made to their loved ones to help out in their trying moments.
The LPOA sponsors yearly Training Conferences to help promote the professionalism of its members and other interested individuals. A variety of subjects are offered in order to help the participating members become better acquainted with new laws, techniques, and also learn from the experiences of fellow officers in the Criminal Justice System.
There have been meetings with other segments of the Criminal Justice System in order to offer each other help in developing and exploring ideas to better serve the different law enforcement agencies in their respective communities. From one of these meetings. Eli Molina, California Highway Patrol, identified a need for a mentor program to assist new officers after they completed the academy and were transferred to a new area. Eli explained that the CHP was loosing Hispanic Officers and a mentor program was needed to provide support and guidance to these new officers. Carlos Marquez, Jose Vasquez, from California Highway Patrol along with Andrew J. Cruz, from the Sacramento Police Department, put together a mentor program and introduced it to LPOA in 1995. The program was accepted and endorsed by Gary Dominguez and Jose Miramontes, National and California State Presidents, respectfully.
All in all, the Latino Peace Officers Association continues to make an effort to “be in tune with the times” not only on social issues, but also politically. In order to become more effective in the latter, THE NATIONAL LPOA PAC., was formed. This political action committee meets Federal and State requirements and operates separately from the regular Association.
The following individuals have served as National Latino Peace Officers Association Presidents in the past 21 years. Several of the below mentioned individuals served more than one term and not always concurrent. Also, the term of office was changed to 2 years during Quijas last term in office and the following Presidents served 2 years as indicated below.
1. John Parraz, Sacramento Sheriff’s Department
2. Vicente Calderone, California Highway Patrol
3. Carlos Cruz, California Highway Patrol
4. Fernando Aldacoa, Santa Ana Police Department
5. Angel Gaitan, Alhambra Police Department
6. Paul Camparan, California Patrol
7. Ruben Diaz, Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department
8. Lou Quijas, Kansas City Police Department
9. Juan DeLeon, Houston Police Department
10. Gary Dominguez, California Highway Patrol
In 1994, the National Convention held in San Jose California. Gary Dominguez, California Highway Patrol, was elected National President, Daniel Hernandez, Kansas City Police Department, was elected Vice President and Fred Sainz, L.A. District Attorney’s Office, was elected Treasurer.
In April 1995, an excellent training conference was held in Las Vegas, hosted by the Clark Co. Chapter. The conference was a enormous success. Alvin Cruz, from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Wash. DC, instructed members on how to organize and operate a non-profit organization. Also, at this conference Dr. Armando J. Islas was appointed Chairman of our National Political Action Committee. The name of the PAC was “THE NATIONAL LPOA PAC” and Lorenzo Provencio, from the San Diego Chapter, was appointed parliamentarian.
Additionally, to reduce operating expenses the executive board voted not to renew the contract with Jene Reyes. Jene had been the LPOA Business Manager for many years. Jean obtained the Association’s 501 ©(3) non-profit IRS exemption and assisted many Chapters with legal questions.
President Dominguez, knowing that communication and networking would be extremely important in maintaining a successful Association, wanted to develop a National Newsletter that would be delivered to each member individually. Felipe Ortiz, Nevada State President, recommended we obtain a non-profit bulk mail permit to reduce the cost of the newsletter.
After some discussion Andrew J. Cruz, Sacramento Chapter President, was asked to take on this monumental task. Andrew was already publishing an excellent and informative newsletter in Sacramento and the executive board felt Andrew was the man for the job. The following week Andrew obtained the non-profit permit and began publishing the newsletter. At first, chapters were reluctant to send in their rosters but soon the mailing list was over 1,000 and growing fast.
In October 1995, the National Conference was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted by the Bernalillo Chapter. At this meeting President Dominguez disclosed that the job of running an Association the size of NLPOA, with just four board members, was overwhelming. Therefore, three new board members were appointed and approved by the membership. Adrian Garcia, Houston Police Department, was appointed Second Vice President, Patricia Mora, California Highway Patrol, was appointed Secretary, and Andrew J. Cruz, Sacramento Police Department, was appointed Historian.
John Messina, our general counsel, the delegates, and the National Board spent what seemed like hours negotiating the new By-Laws. After much discussion the By-Laws were overwhelmingly approved. John Messina was assigned to write the By-Laws and have them sent to every member. A notable change in the By-Laws was that now Associate members could serve on the National Board, but not hold the office of President or Vice President. In April 1996, the new By-Laws were mailed to every member on our mailing list, via the National Newsletter.
Andrew J. Cruz, who was known to everyone as “Andy”, was currently running a very successful Chapter in Sacramento. However, he found time to develop three NLPOA Booklets to promote the Association. The first booklet contained an introduction to the Association, a scholarship policy and application, a mentor program, a list of past National Presidents, the duties of board members and an oath of office that was authored by Andy. The second booklet contained the history of LPOA, by Joab Pacillas, and the third contained an overview of LPOA by Gary Dominguez along with the organization’s legal documents.
While preparing the history of the Association Andrew contacted Joab Pacillas, San Gabriel Valley Chapter, who had served as National Historian form 1973 to 1990. During his ten-year Joab wrote a history of LPOA which was never published. Andrew was working with Joab when Joab passed away in May 1996, after suffering from a long illness. Andrew completed Joab’s work and published THE HISTORY OF LPOA, in memory of Mr. Joab O. Pacillas, in May 1996.
Needless to say, the National Latino Peace Officers Association is on the move and definitely impacting the communities and Law Enforcement Agencies where the members participate. Growth is inevitable and expansion and influence of this organization will be much more evident as time goes on. It should be noted that the words Latino, Hispanic, Mexican American and Chicano are used interchangeably throughout this paper only because the writer has opted not to revise too much of the original and limited material obtained. Therefore, the writer has exercised the privilege of plagiarizing in the writing of this History.
The format followed is simple. An effort has been made to acquaint the reader with the different Chapters’ this will give the reader and idea of how the NATIONAL LATINO PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION has developed to its present stature.
It is expected that this initial attempt, to put into writing the history of this great organization, will prompt an immediate reaction from persons who have been involved in the local and state-wide development of the LPOA. Maybe now they will come forth with corrections, additions, or deletions in order to up-date this history.
Please be assured that all of your comments and criticisms will be interpreted as an effort on your behalf to participate in making the future revised edition of the History of the National Latino Peace Officers Association more accurate and more appealing to all. Thus, the LPOA continues to grow and to take a prominent place in the “community” of organizations in the State of California and on a National level.
Joab O Pacillas
Joab O. Pacillas
National Historian 1973-1990
THIS WORK WAS PUBLISHED IN MEMORY
of Joab and Bertha Pacillas
If you would like copies of this booklet or would like to add historical information to this booklet, send all requests, documents, photographs, and letters explaining your contribution, to LPOA, to:
N. L. P. O. A. HISTORIAN
P. O. BOX 1135
SACRAMENTO CA 95812
Copyright 1996 by the National Latino Peace Officers Association Booklet
Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited except for the written permission of the National Latino Peace Officers Association
N.L.P.O.A. Members, San Gabriel Valley Chapter