Officer fired from State Police, rehired by different department

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The state cop who was fired in 2011 after he was caught on camera having sex is now back in uniform working for another department.

KRQE News 13 has learned Bert Lopez is now a deputy in Valencia County.

State Police fired him back in 2011 after photos surfaced that showed Lopez, in uniform, having sex on the top of a car in public.

At the time, Sgt Tim Johnson with State Police said, “An employee who did something like this in uniform would be considered on duty.”

He called the incident an embarrassment.

The photos were taken by a security camera at La Bajada Ranch, which is owned by Santa Fe County.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, around the same time, a woman also accused Lopez of “flirting” with her as she was being arrested for DWI.

KRQE News 13 has learned Lopez is now back in uniform. The Valencia County Sheriff’s Department hired him back in July of 2015. The decision had some residents raising concerns.

“It creates a lot of doubts in my mind,” Jerry Jackson said. “With all the good officers and good deputies here, why would they take on a liability? I don’t understand.”

Some residents didn’t see a problem with the hire and said Lopez deserved a second chance.

“Everybody can make a mistake once or twice,” Mark Gerton said. “I don’t agree with what he did but now he outta take that second chance and make sure he doesn’t blow it again.”

KRQE News 13 asked the sheriff’s department about the hire. The chief deputy said they made sure all of Lopez’s law enforcement certificates were up to date and that he’s shown nothing but “professionalism” since he was hired.