State board revokes former DASO deputy's law enforcement certification

·1 min read
Some of the evidence that was allegedly found in former DASO Deputy Vincent Lopez's foreclosed house by a cleaning crew on May 23, 2020.
Some of the evidence that was allegedly found in former DASO Deputy Vincent Lopez's foreclosed house by a cleaning crew on May 23, 2020.

LAS CRUCES - Former Doña Ana County sheriff's deputy Vincent Lopez has officially lost the certificate that let's him be a police officer.

The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy voted unanimously to revoke Lopez' law enforcement certification during a meeting on Thursday.

Lopez, 55, was arrested and charged with nine counts of tampering with public records and nine counts of tampering with evidence, according to a criminal complaint. Las Cruces Police Department detectives accused Lopez of hoarding evidence and records — including firearms and DNA swabs — at his house from 2009 to 2013.

Lopez was arrested in July 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to the 18 charges and is scheduled for trial early next year. Lopez was originally held in jail on a no-bond hold but was granted a bond in January 2021. Court records show that Lopez bonded out of jail shortly after he was granted a bond.

The LEA board did not wait for a verdict in the case to make a decision on Lopez's certification.

The board, made up of New Mexico sheriffs, police chiefs and Department of Public Safety personnel, moved to revoke Lopez's certification after a lengthy closed session. The board also revoked, dismissed or tabled the certifications of around a dozen other police officers across the state. It's unclear how much time the board spent debating Lopez's status since the session wasn't open to the public.

The board also moved to dismiss the law enforcement certification revocation of former LCPD officer Francisco Estrada. Estrada was charged after police said he accidentally fired his gun inside a middle school.

Estrada was initially charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon but those charges were dismissed in October 2020.

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at JEGarcia@lcsun-news.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.

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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: State board revokes former DASO deputy's certification

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