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Meet Joe Lopez

A Born Leader

Chief Joe Lopez was born in the Bronx, New York and is the son of two Cuban immigrants. Growing up in a rough neighborhood in the Bronx, his single mother was forced to work two to three jobs and collect welfare while raising two children.  Lopez learned structure and leadership at an early age, participating in The United States Jr. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America.


After attending Catholic school in the Bronx, where he served as an altar boy for four years, also attended his freshman year at Long Beach High School, Long Beach, New York. Shortly after, Lopez moved to Miami with his family in 1977 and graduated from Hialeah Miami Lakes High School in Miami, Florida. 


With a strong commitment to serve our country and lead, Lopez joined the United States Marine Corps in 1979 and spent nearly five years on active duty. Lopez was assigned in one of the most prestigious units, Marine Security Battalion protecting United States Embassies in Managua Nicaragua and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


After his time in the military, Lopez began a career with the Florida Highway Patrol in Miami in 1985. Several years later, Lopez worked as a Special Agent with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. During his service as a Special Agent, Lopez was assigned working as an undercover agent for three years taking the drugs off the streets. 


In 2013, Lopez was promoted to the rank of Major as the Chief of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence with the Florida Highway Patrol where he was responsible for leading a Bureau of approximately 100 Criminal Investigators and Intelligence Analysts. Two years later, Lopez was assigned as the Troop Commander for Troop K-Turnpike/Orlando, responsible for leading Troopers and Dispatchers from Orlando to Miami.


During his career with the Florida Highway Patrol, Lopez spent more than three decades in various roles including;

  • Violent Street Crimes Unit

  • Robbery Intervention Detail Task force

  • South Florida Money Laundering Task force

  • Traffic Homicide 

  • Training

  • SWAT

    • Attended Metro Dade SRT School & Miami P.D. SWAT School

  • Mobile Field Force

    • Led the response of 150 plus Troopers to  the RNC Conventions (Tampa 2012 & Cleveland 2016)

  • Emergency Management deploying throughout the State of Florida for Hurricanes/Fires & Commercial Airline crash (Value Jet Flt 592). 

  • Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence

    • Internal Affairs

    • Cargo Theft,

    • Identity Theft

    • Death Investigations

    • Auto Theft

    • FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Committee

  • Contraband Interdiction and K-9

  • Shift Commander

  • District Commander for Orlando Troop K Turnpike.


But it was Lopez's time assigned to community policing that shaped his policing philosophy. Lopez believes that an effective law enforcement organization can only succeed with transparency, strong community engagement and partnerships.


It was that commitment to engagement that allowed him the opportunity to serve in leadership as the Vice President of the Police Benevolent Association (Florida Highway Patrol Chapter).


After more than three decades with the Florida Highway Patrol, Lopez was promoted to the rank of Chief upon his date of retirement. Lopez joined the private sector where he is currently serves as Senior Manager of Security for Walt Disney World.


Lopez graduated from the 59th session of the Command Officer Development Course, Southern Police Institute (SPI), University of Louisville, the International Association Chiefs of Police (IACP) Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) program. Lopez also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia Southern University.


Joe Lopez is a committed husband of more than 29 years to a beautiful woman he calls his “Rock” He and his wife (Lisette) are raising two children, Andy and Victoria and are both currently attending the University of Central Florida.

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