Raquel Lopez, who recently was promoted to detective, stepped up as the newest public information officer with the Denver Police Department in late March. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)
- Mar 1:
- Protesters rally in Denver against police brutality
- Feb 22:
- El Departamento de Policía de Aurora tiene problemas para reclutar minorías
- Agreement keeps Denver police out of most school discipline problems
- Feb 13:
- NAACP accuses Denver police of "Jim Crow era" brutality
- Feb 1:
- Denver's 911 call performance audits reveal problems
- Jan 16:
- El Departamento de Policía de Denver busca 100 nuevos oficiales
- Police officer wounded, 3 others hurt, 1 dead in northwest Denver
- Jan 15:
- Investigation into fatal Adams County shooting ongoing
- Adams County sheriff's deputy shoots, kills man
- Jan 11:
- Denver police chase leads to crash; woman, child not seriously hurt
- Dec 5:
- Denver Police taking longer to respond to 911 calls, new data shows
- Dec 4:
- Aurora Police Department struggling to improve minority numbers
- Nov 25:
- Top Denver bomb dog retires as handler moves to civilian post
- Nov 12:
- Denver will replace some police with civilians
- Sep 13:
- Accused shooter will stand trial in shooting of Denver cop Celena Hollis
- Sep 6:
- Latino officers' discrimination complaints against Denver dismissed
- Jul 31:
- Suspect dead in officer-involved shooting in Denver
- Jul 19:
- Colorado State Patrol harbors anti-gay culture, judge says
- Jul 16:
- Denver cops nervous about changes in some ranks
- Jul 9:
- Denver police rotate gang officers in an attempt to boost training
- Jul 5:
- Suspect in Denver police officer killing appears in court
- Jun 29:
- Tributes planned for slain Denver Police officer Celena Hollis
- Jun 26:
- Alleged Denver cop killer claimed gang membership when booked
- Jun 25:
- Policía de Denver de luto por asesinato de oficial
- Slain Denver police officer identified; was head of officer's association
- Matan a balazos a policía cerca de concierto en Denver
- Jun 24:
- Police officer killed at Denver's City Park Jazz festival
- Jun 14:
- Latina conecta a la policía de Denver con la comunidad
- Jun 7:
- FBI investigará caso de supuesta brutalidad policial en Denver
- FBI opens investigation into Denver police beating
- Jun 4:
- Denver police chief and Safety Manager delay discipline decision
- Jun 1:
- Fallen Englewood officer remembered, interred with honors
- May 29:
- Englewood officer dies of injuries; accused drunken driver in court
- May 24:
- Denver police train for implementation of homeless-camping ban
- May 22:
- Panel reinstates Denver cop who took off-duty drunken joy ride
- Apr 24:
- Lawsuit against 4 Denver cops goes to trial
- Apr 19:
- Jurado exime de culpa a policía de Aurora acusado de matar a hispano
- Apr 17:
- Denver police dog attacks, kills pet in Arvada
- Apr 9:
- City allowed to fire officers in police beating
- Activists gather signatures to urge federal civil-rights probe of Denver police
- Mar 20:
- White and Martinez to announce changes to Denver police today
- Mar 19:
- Two fired Denver cops get their jobs back, two others don't
- Mar 15:
- Committee named to help pick new DPD commanders
- Citizen complaints against Denver police declined in 2011
- Mar 13:
- Denver cop's firing upheld in stomping of boy in alley
- Mar 1:
- Nuevo jefe policial promete reformas, mayor acercamiento a la comunidad
- Denver sheriff's captain says department ignored her accusations of rape by colleagues
- Feb 29:
- New police chief promises reforms, more community interaction
- Denver police chief "flattening" the force to increase accountability
- Feb 28:
- Denver Police chief shakes up department, commanders must reapply for jobs
- Feb 15:
- Denver police's witness-description computer system under fire
- Feb 14:
- Denver cop who was fired for mishandling hit-and-run case wins his job back
- Feb 2:
- Video of cop manhandling suspect released
- Feb 1:
- Denver cop suspended for unnecessary force
- Jan 31:
- Denver police apologize for handling of lawmaker's case
- Jan 29:
- New cop, a son of immigrants, aims to bridge gap with community
- Jan 27:
- Denver names panelists who will help pick police monitor
- Jan 19:
- Family of slain extortion suspect asks court for Aurora police records
- Jan 17:
- Denver to appeal reinstatement of 2 fired police officers
- Jan 13:
- Two fired Denver cops reinstated with back pay in 2009 diner incident
- Jan 9:
- Reporte detalla 500 casos de arrestos equivocados en Denver durante siete años
- Jan 8:
- Records detail more than 500 mistaken-identity arrests in Denver in seven years
- Jan 7:
- Denver mayor: Wait for reforms before having feds investigate Police Department
- Jan 5:
- Denver manager of safety rips police monitor
- Denver police monitor rips DPD discipline, says cops can't investigate selves
- Jan 4:
- Douglas County sheriff's deputy accused of driving drunk is fired
- Denver police monitor: Reinstating officers who lied has "horrible implications"
- Jan 3:
- Civil service panel overturns firing of two Denver cops
- Dec 12:
- Robert White sworn in as new Denver Police Chief
- New Denver Police Chief Robert White to assume command today
- Dec 7:
- Denver's police monitor taking new job
- Dec 2:
- Beatings of suspects "run of the mill" for some Denver cops, former safety manager says
- Nov 29:
- Denver City Council approves contract of Police Chief Robert White
- Nov 21:
- Denver City Council approves new Denver Police Chief Robert White contract on first reading
- Nov 14:
- Denver officers justified in shooting of armed robber, District Attorney rules
- Nov 10:
- Expert will help sort Denver police use-of-force documents
- Nov 9:
- Denver's safety chief defends police-chief choice White to council committee
- Nov 8:
- Safety Manager Martinez will be guest at Mi Casa forum this evening
- Council meeting on Denver's new police chief could get heated
- Comisión Latina de Denver convoca a foro sobre seguridad comunitaria
- Oct 28:
- Mayor Michael Hancock announces offer to Robert White to lead DPD
- Oct 27:
- Denver police chief proposes double-check on DUI stops of public officials
- Oct 26:
- Denver cops to test body cameras in pilot program
- Feds: Arrests take 80 armed gang members off the streets
- Oct 24:
- Man claims he was injured by Aurora police during seizure, files federal lawsuit
- Oct 23:
- Denver protest against police leads to one arrest
- Oct 21:
- Autopsy says man's death at Denver Zoo a homicide, criminal charges will not follow
- Oct 18:
- Police: Armed robber fatally shot by officers in east Denver
- Oct 6:
- Denver police use Twitter to criticize news report
- Sep 30:
- Aurora police chief orders new training after latest officer-involved shooting
- Sep 29:
- Man shot and killed by police in Aurora
- Sep 14:
- Denver police share concerns with mayor
- Sep 7:
- Fired Denver cops got jobs back on technicality, city will appeal
- Two Denver cops fired in LoDo beating case reinstated by board
- Sep 2:
- Defenders step up for Denver Police Chief Whitman as he prepares to step down
- Aug 24:
- Supreme Court justice Alex J. Martinez named Denver's manager of safety
- Aug 15:
- Balaceras policiales: una fina distinción entre fuerza mortal y resolver el caso
- Shootings: Fine line divides deadly force and resolution
- Aug 12:
- Littleton asks DA to open wiretapping probe at police department
- Aug 9:
- Aurora seeks vote on property-tax hike to fund police-hiring mandate
- Aug 7:
- Man shot, killed by Denver police after high-speed chase
- Aug 1:
- Police warn of street robberies in Capitol Hill area
- Jul 19:
- Officers cleared in fourth Aurora police shooting
- Jun 14:
- Denver police force settlements now top $1 million for year
- May 2:
- Aumenta presencia policial en aeropuertos y otros sitios en EEUU
- Apr 25:
- Nuevo comandante de policía de Denver Tony Lopez se enfoca en el bienestar de la gente
Whether she was dealing with 60 felons crowing at her from behind bars or a suspect refusing to cooperate, Raquel Lopez never had much of a problem with respect.
Lopez - who started out as a deputy for the Denver Sheriff's Department working in the county jail - earned the nickname "Rocky" after she began patrolling the streets of District 4 for the Denver Police Department.
The nickname stemmed from her boxing workouts - "I'm not trying to get punched in the face," she said, but it's "a real good stress reliever" - and it likely came from the attitude that stuck with her after spending so much time locked in a room with felons at the jail.
"I have thick skin," said Lopez, 43. "I said, 'You are not gonna bully me That is not gonna work for me at all."
These days, one would never guess as much about Lopez, who has put the blue uniform and bun on hold so that she can take on a different breed of troublemakers - reporters.
Lopez, who recently was promoted to detective, stepped up as the newest public information officer with the Denver Police in late March. She is the fourth Latina to hold the public information position in Denver.
However, there hasn't been a PIO who speaks fluent Spanish for about six years, Lopez said.
Having a PIO who speaks Spanish is an asset for the Police Department, which serves a city that is 31 percent Latino, according to 2010 Census data.
But Lopez's character and her knowledge of the community make her an indispensable member
of the public information team, said Sonny Jackson, Lopez's supervisor. Lopez grew up in Denver and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1987. She learned about the area's criminal element working at the Denver County Jail, she said.
Jackson said he met Lopez a few years ago and recognized that she would fill the need for someone who could communicate with the Spanish-speaking community.
"Her work was amazing," Jackson said of Lopez's work as a Denver police patrol officer.
Lopez said a handful of officers spoke fluent Spanish in District 4, and many could get by with minimum skills, but she said she was often called upon for help with translations, whether it was with a suspect, a victim or a witness.
District 4, which encompasses Denver's southwest corner, has a high population of Hispanics. Lopez said she took advantage of being in the area to reach out to monolingual Spanish speakers, many of whom were afraid to ask questions of the police out of fear of deportation.
"I always tried to make them comfortable, to let them know that they have rights, too," Lopez said.
Jackson said he expressed an interest in getting Lopez into the public information office early on but she was "highly regarded where she was," he said. "I don't think they wanted to lose her."
In the end, it's better to have Lopez transitioning to the PIO position now, Jackson said.
Her promotion comes about five months after Police Chief Robert White of Louisville, Ky., took over the department, restructuring some of its leadership and pledging to hold officers accountable for excessive force, a subject that has come up at the department several times the past few years.
"We're all learning at the same time," Jackson said of the changes going on at the department. Lopez's coming on to the team now is a "good fit," he said.
"She's taken to the job like nobody else I've seen."
But Lopez said her new job isn't without challenges.
"Every interview, I'm nervous," she said - especially for interviews with broadcast news stations such as Telemundo and Univision because, she said, she needs to tap into her "professional Spanish" skills.
In eighth grade, Lopez, whose Mexican parents' first language is Spanish, failed her Spanish class because she didn't know how to read or write the language.
That's when she decided to teach herself, checking out books from the library and reading the newspaper. In some ways, it was like how she learned English - by listening to her four brothers and watching "Sesame Street," Lopez said.
It's no surprise that Lopez was successful, said her mother, Socorro Toledo. She has always taken to books.
"I thought to myself, 'I don't think I can read so many books,'" Toledo said of Lopez's constant affinity for learning. "But she loves it!"
Toledo said she was surprised when Lopez decided she wanted to be a police officer, but she said she never tried to keep her from doing what she wanted, even if the job were dangerous.
"I tell her, 'Never do things that don't make you happy or you don't like. It's not good for the person if you don't like it,'" Toledo said.
"So I know she likes it," and that is enough, she said.
Lopez said her 17-year-old daughter has never taken issue with her profession either but when her son, who is now 22, was in his early teens, he wasn't so content with Lopez heading out into the field every day.
"My son was very unhappy He was always in fear that I would not come home," she said. "Now, he sees everything I have done, how much I love it, and he's OK with it now."
Lopez said it's always been in the back of her mind that she wanted to be a police officer, ever since she saw one presenting an award to her sixth-grade class. The possible danger of the job never stopped her, she said.
"My mom has no fear whatsoever," Lopez said. "I think I follow those traits."
Toledo said her husband, too, was a strong man. But he died 25 years ago, and Toledo had to raise her five children on her own.
Certainly, Toledo said, Lopez is has always been responsible and very strong.
"She's doing all the time whatever she wants," she said. "Whether I like it or not, she's going to do it. And I respect that."