Support group’s Clooney Award presented to HPOU’s Sgt. Luis Menendez-Sierra

Andrea Schmauss, 2nd VP - HCPAAA
Left to right: Lt. J. Colburn, Luis Menendez-Sierra’s wife Mirna, the alumni association’s parliamentarian Robert Fash, Board member Phil Niewald, Sgt. Menendez-Sierra, the group’s president, Jeanette Einkauf, Clara Pruitt, Secretary Elena Ortiz, Kelly Fash and 2nd Vice President Andrea Schmauss. Photo by Gary Hicks

Sgt. Luis Menendez-Sierra is the 26th recipient of the Annual Lynn Clooney Officer of the Year Award.  The award is named after Lynn Clooney, a graduate of the very first Houston Citizens’ Police Academy class.

Clooney was inspired by the officers who taught the class and became a founding member of the Houston Citizens’ Police Academy Alumni Association (HCPAAA), which received its state charter in 1992.

All nominees are presented to the HCPAAA by HPD Public Affairs with all identifying information on the officer redacted.  This allows the selection committee to make their final selection based solely on the work the officer has performed.

Sgt. Menendez-Sierra, an HPOU board member, is with the HPD Special Victims Division and serves as the Houston Metro ICAC Commander, a multi-agency task force which covers eight counties.  As the task force leader, he oversees the daily operations of 67 partner police agencies. He also supervises a team comprised of seven classified employees and one civilian and coordinates training, equipment purchases and overtime for the officers and the officers affiliated with the task force.

Sgt. Luis Menendez-Sierra’s obligations to the Department require him to be on-call at all times in order to answer cyber tips that are provided to the task force.

Last Aug. 18 the sergeant coordinated a three-day online chat operation utilizing officers from the officer’s division and the Harris County Precinct 1 Constables Office. The goal of the operation was to arrest online child predators who prey on innocent children in various internet chat rooms and web sites.

The individuals targeted during this operation were persons who were committed to soliciting and having sexual intercourse with a child. As a result, a total of 13 child predators were arrested and taken off the streets. The most notable arrests as a result of the operation was that of a suspect who was HIV positive and a suspect who was a registered sex offender on parole for online solicitation of a minor.

Sgt. Menendez-Sierra worked countless hours prior to, during and after the operation to ensure its success. Due to his efforts and team leadership, 13 children were saved from being potential victims of these online predators.

In addition to his commitment to the task force and his daily activities as an HPD supervisor, he spends a great deal of time educating the community on internet safety through various townhall meetings and community centers throughout the year, Menendez-Sierra has such a commitment to the children of our communities that he volunteers to teach these lessons so that parents can be educated on the dangers that lurk on the internet and chat rooms their kids might be visiting.

The task force has always stepped up to help, even when the job did not fall within its responsibility. An example of this was seen when a cyber tip came in regarding the location of a victim in the Huntsville area.

While this area falls directly under the command of a different task force in the Austin area, the sergeant acted without delay. Knowing he was closer to the child in proximity than the other task force, he traveled to Huntsville with his team and was able to locate and save a child, who was in a sexually abusive situation.

Dedication to his job and the safety of the child is what led him to step in and take control of the situation even when the responsibility to respond fell within the jurisdiction of another agency.

The officer is an outstanding supervisor and a model police officer and most deserving of the Lynn Clooney Officer of the Year Award.