Bert Lopez, a highly decorated New Mexico state police officer, was fired late last week after surveillance photos of his sexual encounter with an unidentified woman at a remote Santa Fe ranch became public.
In two photos from the incident, Lopez is dressed in uniform, standing between the legs of a woman who is lying on the hood of a Honda. The firing came days after Santa Fe county police officials said they wouldn't charge Lopez with a crime because the two were not in public view.
State police spokesman Sgt. Tim Johnson told the Santa Fe New Mexican, "It is an embarrassing situation for the department, but we have to remember the rights of the employee afford him due process we must follow so we won't be commenting further,"
The surveillance photos were taken by a motion-triggered security camera at the front gate of the county-owned La Bajada Ranch. A county employee found the photos and sent them to the Santa Fe County sheriff, who sent them along to the state police.
Santa Fe Sheriff Robert Garcia said the encounter was probably in late July or early August. Police officials didn't release any details about the woman or her relationship with Lopez.
Lopez was named 'Officer of the Year' in his district in 2009 and was given a special award in July for going above and beyond the call of duty, the New Mexican reported. He also busted a well-known ex-con in May who later escaped jail while officers were filling out paperwork.