Gratitude ushers new deputy into law enforcement

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Dubois County's newest sheriff's deputy Rolando Lopez of Jasper, center, his sister, Elvia Lopez of Dale, left, and their father, Octaviano Lopez of Dale, chat during a celebration with family and friends at American Legion Post 147 in Jasper on Saturday. "It's a very good feeling for me to make it this far," Rolando Lopez said. 


The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department’s newest deputy immigrated to the U.S. as a toddler, coming to this area with his family from Mexico.

Rolando Lopez, 27, says he and his family members did not yet know English when they began making the acquaintance of this area’s helpers.

There were always helpers along his journey, Rolando says, and by serving in law enforcement, he hopes to give back to everyone — from teachers to church outreach groups — who helped his family learn the English language, American culture and more.

“I had so much help,” he says. “And I like to give back. As much as I can.”

Rolando noticed his proud parents tearing up when he graduated Friday after 17 weeks at the Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Evansville. There were smiles the next night, when his family threw a party in his honor in the basement of Jasper American Legion Post 147.

Sheriff Donny Lampert says the tacos at that party were phenomenal.

Rolando graduated from Heritage Hills High School in 2009. He had played shortstop and pitched for the Patriots in high school and his success on the diamond brought the scholarship and grant assistance that found him attending Oakland City University and becoming an infielder for the Mighty Oaks.

His decision to pursue law enforcement — he holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice — is providing a rewarding, interesting career.

“It’s a profession where you don’t know what to expect on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “I like that aspect of not knowing what’s next.”

Rolando is the son of Octaviano and Guadalupe Lopez of Dale. He has four sisters and one brother. He is the second youngest. His baby sister just graduated from the University of Southern Indiana.

Rolando Lopez of Jasper poses for a portrait during a celebration with family and friends at American Legion Post 147 in Jasper on Saturday. 

The Lopez family originally came to this area because friends helped Rolando’s parents find work at Farbest Foods. His parents eventually settled in Dale and now work for Kimball International Inc. at the Santa Claus plant.

Today is Rolando’s first day on patrol as a road deputy, although veterans are still showing him the ropes as part of the department’s formal field training officer program.

Rolando’s new job as a road deputy comes after two years with the sheriff’s department as a jailer at the Dubois County Security Center. Before that, he served two and a half years at the Dubois County Community Corrections Center. As a correctional officer, he was already volunteering for outreach programs like the annual Tri-Cap Head Start Cops and Kids holiday event.

Lampert says Rolando’s four-year degree, followed by his work as a correctional officer and jailer showed his dedication to law enforcement.

“He’s just been building up to this type of position,” Lampert says, adding that having another bilingual deputy is a boon to the department.

“It really enhances our department to be more community-oriented,” the sheriff said.

Rolando and his wife, Josseline, are the parents of a 2 1/2-year-old son, Kingsley. The family resides in Jasper.

Rolando’s favorite hobby is a five-team Sunday baseball league that he, his family members and friends have organized.

More on