Hispanic Heritage Month: Latinos in Law Enforcement
Hispanics are joining police and federal law enforcement agencies at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada and The Mob Museum will present a panel discussion highlighting the importance of diversity in law enforcement. This panel discussion, featuring Latino and Latina police officers, will discuss ways to recruit, hire and retain a diverse police force.
This program will take place in the Museum’s Historic Courtroom.
Captain Josh Martinez, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Captain Josh Martinez was raised in Chino, California. After graduating high school, he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At UNLV, he pursued his degree in Political Science and History. After completing his degree, Martinez applied to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Martinez has been with Metro police for 20 years and has worked various assignments as a patrol officer, field-training officer, patrol sergeant, and lieutenant. These assignments have allowed him to gain experience in operations, investigations, and administration. His current assignment as Captain of Enterprise Area Command allows him to mentor officers, supervisors, and managers. He is also responsible for building community relations with community members and groups. Martinez received his Master of Public Administration from UNLV in 2007.
Bernardo Abarca, Clark County School District Police
Bernardo Abarca grew up in Southern California. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1999-2003. He then worked in security communications for the Walt Disney Company from 2003-2011. Abarca has also worked in the Nevada Department of Corrections and Nevada Highway Patrol. He currently serves as an investigator with internal affairs for the Clark County School District Police.
Lieutenant Sendy Lopez, Nevada Department of Public Safety
Lieutenant Sendy Lopez is a proud Navy Veteran. She was recently promoted to Lieutenant for the City of Las Vegas Department of Public Safety. Lopez previously worked in the patrol and investigations section for the City of Las Vegas Department of Public Safety. She currently oversees the patrol section. When she is not at work, she spends time with her children and other family members. Lopez has lived in Las Vegas for most of her life and she is honored to serve and give back to the community in this capacity.
Lieutenant Lorena Perez, Nevada Highway Patrol
Lieutenant Lorena Perez began her career in law enforcement as an Officer with the Nevada Department of Public Safety – Parole and Probation Division in 2010. Her assignments within the Parole and Probation Division: General Supervision unit, Gang Unit and Field Training Officer. Lt. Perez was also a member of a multi-agency gang task force where she worked closely with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
In 2016, Officer Perez was selected to be a Corporal at the Nevada Department of Public Safety Southern Academy as a Tac Officer. She was instrumental in planning, organizing and reinstating the Nevada Department of Public Safety law enforcement academy in Southern Nevada. She was then selected as the Acting Academy Commander for class 79. During Corporal Perez’s assignment with the Nevada DPS Southern Police Academy, she helped train and mentor over 50 future State Police Officers.
Lorena Perez was promoted to the rank of Sergeant with the Division of Parole and Probation in 2018. During her tenure as a Sergeant, she supervised the training and education of Parole and Probation Officers, managed and restructured the Public Safety Training Officer program, and supervised the House arrest unit; where she oversaw house arrest officers, embedded officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and assisted with several mutli-agency community oriented policing initiatives that connected law enforcement officers with the neighborhoods they serve by organizing community building projects such as the Heroes United Hockey Program and the HOPE for prisoners’ program.
Sgt. Perez was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant of the Nevada Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Division in June 2021 and is currently assigned as the Watch Commander over Urban Dayshift Traffic for Southern Command – Las Vegas.
Lt. Lorena Perez has also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from National University.
Leticia Castro, news anchor, Telemundo Las Vegas
Leticia Castro is a news anchor for Noticiero Telemundo Las Vegas, which airs on Telemundo Las Vegas / KBLR, the local station that serves the Spanish-speaking community in southern Nevada. As part of Noticiero Telemundo Las Vegas, Castro reports the latest news for viewers in the valley. She joined Telemundo Las Vegas in August 2017 as a reporter and anchor. Castro started her current role in November 2020. Prior to joining Telemundo Las Vegas, Castro worked as a weather reporter and reporter for KXTV ABC News10 Sacramento from 2014 to 2016. Castro also worked as a weather reporter for KBLR Telemundo Las Vegas and Telemundo Houston. Castro studied Journalism and Communications at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She advocates for community issues that help promote education, self-esteem, and volunteering among Latino youth.