Friday, September 17, 2021
  Awards and Recognitions

By Amanda Taylor

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV Police Sgt. Francisco Lopez admits he’s a man of few words. One favorite motto – “Work hard in silence, let success make the noise” – pretty much sums things up for him.

So, it is a true testament to that philosophy that Lopez is featured as the University of Texas System Officer of the Month for September.

UT System Director of Police Michael J. Heidingsfield had words of praise for Lopez, and for his commitment and dedication to the job.

UTRGV Police Sgt. Francisco Lopez
UTRGV Police Sgt. Francisco Lopez. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

 “Sgt. Lopez is a highly talented, 30-year law enforcement practitioner who served a full career with both the McAllen Police Department and the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office prior to joining UTRGV PD,” Heidingsfield said. “He has brought a broad range of skills and portfolios to the UT System Police, and we consistently applaud the work he is currently doing in the management of criminal investigations, as well as serving as a mentor to younger officers who work under his supervision.”

One officer each month is selected for this UT System distinction from across all 14 UT System police departments.

Lopez began his work at the UTRGV Police Department in 2018 as a police officer, and later was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as a detective. In 2020, he was promoted to sergeant and supervised the patrol division.

By October that same year, he was assigned as a sergeant leading the Criminal Investigations Division, where he trains detectives in all aspects of criminal investigations processes.

He also is an instructor with UTRGV’s police training facility and has taught courses such as crime scene investigations, report writing and court testimony.

UTRGV Police Chief Adan Cruz said Lopez’s positive attitude and leadership skills are important assets to the university.

“It is an honor to have one of our own recognized by the director of UT System Police,” Cruz said. “Sgt. Lopez is a hardworking and conscientious police officer who brings a wealth of experience to our University Police Department. Sgt. Lopez’s leadership and positive attitude are an asset to the department and the whole UTRGV community.”

On being named UT System Officer of the Month, Lopez’s reaction was typically understated.

“I am honored with this distinction and to be named Officer of the Month for doing what I am passionate about,” he said. “Going forward, I hope to continue to share my knowledge and experience with the newer generations of fine officers in our police system.”

Officers selected by UT System Police are featured on the website under “Officers of the Month” with their biography, and are included in newsletters across the UT System Police departments throughout Texas.

In his biography, Lopez said becoming a police officer has been a blessing, and that he wears his uniform and badge with the greatest pride.

“I believe being an officer is not measured by how many arrests you make or how many cases you solve in your career,” he said, “but by what legacy you leave behind.”


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.