Lopez, who started in Montebello as a cadet in 1992 and eventually became an officer two years later, is being honored at the luncheon with his parents and wife at his side for acts of heroism both on and off duty. He was quick to point out that any of his fellow Montebello officers could have been selected for the honor. “There are so many deserving people other than myself,” he said. Montebello police Chief Garry Couso-Vasquez calls Lopez the “best of the best” and his recognition by a national organization reflects very well on the department. “Performance is what we look at in the department, especially from those in a leadership role,” Couso- MONTEBELLO – Cpl. Luis Lopez says law enforcement is in his blood, citing his paternal grandfather who was a judge in Mexico. Today, the Montebello Police Department officer is in the nation’s capital as one of 12 police officers being honored for service to their communities as part of National Police Week. “It’s a bit overwhelming and humbling at the same time, especially when there are hundreds of thousands of police officers in the United States,” said Lopez, who grew up in Azusa. Since 1996, the National Law Enforcements Officers Memorial Fund has selected one law enforcement officer who has distinguished him or herself through exemplary service and devotion to duty. Vasquez said, “and he shows that day in and day out.” And that performance has earned Lopez a new title of sergeant. His new rank goes into effect Sunday. “It’s really exciting,” said Lopez, who will stay in the patrol division as a sergeant. “It was a tough process because, again, there was a lot of well-qualified people.” For those who work alongside Lopez, his success came as no surprise. His career in law enforcement, which he decided upon while a student at Citrus College after participating in a police ride-along as part of a sociology course, was marked early with achievement. A dozen years ago as a field training officer, he and his fellow officers responded to a call of a woman at a local motel screaming. Unable to gain access to the room through the doorway, Lopez and his team smashed through a window, disarmed a suspect and rescued the woman, who had been stabbed 45 times. “We were just trying to get inside and give aid to the woman,” he recalled. His act of heroism that day characterized his career, according to the department, and also extended to off-duty hours. While driving to a shopping center in San Dimas on a day off in March 2006, Lopez heard a series of gunshots and then saw a sports car being driven recklessly in the opposite direction. The sports car stopped in his lane well in front of him. As he got closer to the car, a van pulled up along side of it and shots were fired. Lopez ran toward the two vehicles with his off-duty weapon in one hand and his badge in the other. All the while he instructed onlookers to take cover, but he did not engage in a gun battle for fear of injury to bystanders. Before he could reach the vehicles, the van sped away. Lopez flagged down a tow truck and ordered him to block traffic. Once he saw that a woman inside the sports car had several gunshots to her neck and torso, Lopez called for an emergency response team. Thinking quickly, he got plastic cups from a local store and used them to cover the spent shell casings in an effort to help preserve the crime scene. Lopez later learned that the man, who was eventually caught and is awaiting trial for this incident and the shooting of a Glendora police officer, was the wounded woman’s husband. She survived. “Cpl. Lopez has placed his life on the line on and and off duty on several occasions and deserves recognition for his actions,” said Montebello police Lt. Gregory Sells. “In addition to being a highly decorated and courageous officer, he is a hard worker who prides himself on treating his fellow workers and citizens with dignity and respect.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!