La Verne alumna gets historic LAPD promotion

Michael Escañuelas
Staff Writer

University of La Verne graduate Tina Nieto was recently promoted to captain of the Los Angeles Police Department, making her the first female Hispanic captain in the LAPD.

Nieto, a San Gabriel native, graduated in 2008 with a degree from ULV’s Master of Science in Leadership and Management program.

She received her bachelor’s in criminal justice at California State University and then shortly after became captain at the Newton police station in Los Angeles after receiving her MS.

“I grew up in a lower middle class,” Nieto said. “I never expected to go to college.”

Nieto joined the force in 1989 and like most in the LAPD, began her career as a patrol officer, Nieto said.

Her career took her on several paths including experience as a squad leader of ordnance specialists and serving in the United States Army Reserve as captain.

She has also had experience teaching at the LAPD Academy, and currently holds the position of facilitator and a facilitator trainer for POST’s Supervisory Leadership Institute.

“We’re proud when a graduate achieves distinction,” Steve Morgan, ULV president said. “We are pleased that we are part of that history making event.”

Before Nieto took her captain position, she needed to complete her MS. She was unhappy with her first collegiate option and a friend’s recommendation brought her to the University of La Verne’s masters program.

“In law you have to have that education to get the job,” Nieto said. “I was on the Captain’s list so I knew I needed to get serious about this program and La Verne was great at getting me back in.”

The program’s intimate class settings and the staff’s real life experience is what drove Nieto to the program, she said.

Nieto did not realize the significance of her promotion until after the fact.

It was not until months later that Nieto finally comprehended that her accomplishment was part of history.

“I’m part of history and that brings more responsibility,” Nieto said. “It was an honor.”

Before her promotion Nieto was already a mentor for young women in law enforcement through conferences and classes.

She is a member of several organizations, including National Women Law Enforcement Executives, the City of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Advisory Council, Hispanic Law Enforcement Administrators and the Fraternal Order of the Police.

“I work in a very male dominated world and when you’re a minority you have certain road blocks you have to go around,” Nieto said.

“For me it has always been important to mentor these people.”

With her recent accomplishment Nieto hopes to make her mark on society.

Nieto understands that it takes more than just her own will power to be successful.

“She’s one of those types of people everyone loves,” said Linda Gutierrez, a co-worker of Neito.

“She’s admired and respected by many. She leaves a very lasting impression,” she added.

“I could not have done it without the help of others,” Nieto said.

Michael Escañuelas can be reached at

Michael Escañuelas, Editorial Cartoonist
Michael Escañuelas

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