Working Together, We Can Make A Difference!
Arizona National Latino Peace Officers
The FOUNDERS: 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 October 1972 while attending a conference in Sacramento CA at the Miramar Hotel their idea, to start a Latino Peace Officers Association, was born. They began talking 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 Five courageous Peace Officers signed their name to this historical document at the risk of eliciting negative comments from their fellow officers and their departments.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 El 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.