By Charlotte Aguilar
“Mo” Lopez’s two-year-plus tryout showed Bellaire leaders that he was the man for the job, and Wednesday (May 19), he was named the city’s new police chief.
Chief Byron Holloway will retire on July 31 after 45 years with the city, and the announcement about Lopez indicated the new top cop will be sworn in before the Aug. 2 City Council meeting.
Onesimo Lopez Jr. beat out 50 other candidates, attracted in a nationwide search, to become assistant chief in January 2019. Holloway was already talking about his retirement, and it was no secret that whoever was chosen for the assistant chief job would likely succeed him.
Lopez brought a degree in criminal justice administration, 24 years experience with the Pearland PD, and certification from the state of Texas as a master police officer to the Bellaire job. He’s working on a master’s degree in public administration, and in January 2020 attended the prestigious FBI National Institute.
“His wealth of experience brings a deep understanding of police organization management and leadership, and he believes in ongoing community engagement,” the announcement of his appointment as chief read.
Holloway described himself as “very excited for the department and the community” at Lopez’s appointment. “This has been a long succession process, and Mo has proven himself every step of the way. He is an innovative leader who is more than capable of managing the upcoming challenges the law enforcement profession will face in the future.”
Holloway has helped the transition along, making sure Lopez had significant, high-profile assignments — most notably presenting the proposal to install license plate-reading cameras at key locations to City Council, and guiding a major study of the department’s operations and management.
“I am appreciative of Chief Holloway and his ongoing support during the selection process,” said Acting City Manager Brant Gary. “He provided the background and details of the process to appoint Assistant Chief Lopez to his current position…Chief Lopez has demonstrated the character, skills, demeanor, and commitment to public service for what is needed to lead the Bellaire Police Department in the coming years…”
“I am excited to be a part of the next chapter of Bellaire’s history and to serve alongside a team of talented professionals who share a commitment to public service and excellence in serving the city of Bellaire,” Lopez said upon his appointment. “I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”
He’ll be taking over a department with a $6.76 million budget, 42 full- and part-time officers and 18 civilian employees, according to year-end statistics. In 2020, the department responded to 30,000 calls for service.
Lopez and his wife, Faby, have been married for 24 years and have four children and four grandchildren.