Longtime Western Loudoun Community Resource Officer Retires

After 37 years of police work, seven of which was dedicated to western Loudoun’s communities, Victor LoPreto is moving onto the next chapter of his life.

LoPreto, a former deputy first class with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, has worked in and around Loudoun’s western towns for the past 12 years. Since 2012, he’s acted as the region’s community resource officer, working to keep western Loudoun’s six towns up to date with news and events from the sheriff’s office and to build relationships with residents. LoPreto, 61, retired last month and relinquished those responsibilities to newcomer Deputy Ben Fornwalt.

The road that led LoPreto to retirement has been a busy one that landed him in multiple jobs in different jurisdictions throughout the past four decades.

There’s never been a time in LoPreto’s life where he hasn’t been around law enforcement. His father a police officer with the New York Police Department in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and his grandfather was a part of the department’s Mounted Unit in the ‘20s and ‘40s. His uncle also spent 43 years with the NYPD, working as a community resource officer with similar responsibilities to those that LoPreto had while working in Loudoun.

LoPreto never worked as a police officer in New York, though. That’s because his friend suggested that he apply for a job with one of the nation’s most promising up-and-coming police jurisdictions in the 1970s—the Fairfax County Police Department.

After spending three years in the Army stationed in Missouri, LoPreto followed through. Hired by Fairfax in 1982, LoPreto spent the next 15 years working at the Reston District Station. Although he said the first six years were fairly uneventful, he said that it was around 1988 when crack cocaine made its way into the mainstream that law enforcement turned inside out, increasing felony arrests from about one or two a year to one or two a day. “It got busy real fast—it was crazy,” LoPreto said.

Retired Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Victor LoPreto poses with his western Loudoun community resource officer replacement, Deputy Ben Fornwalt.
[Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]
At that point, LoPreto was appointed to the Reston Pathway Patrol, which had him policing the community on a multi-terrain motorcycle. About eight years later, LoPreto said the department had the drug outbreak contained, at which point he went onto the midnight shift as a master police officer for the next two and a half years.

LoPreto retired from Fairfax County in 2006 as a second lieutenant. Two months later, he started work in Loudoun.

Originally, LoPreto planned to stay in Loudoun for five years before retiring and moving with his wife to the Outer Banks, but that all changed as time went on. A few years after being hired, he was tapped to work the midnight shift in western Loudoun.

When Sheriff Mike Chapman was elected in 2012, LoPreto was appointed to the role of community resource officer out west, which allowed him to see that area of the county in a different light, literally. He worked in that role for the next seven years until his retirement early last month. “You got to walk away some day—might as well go out at the top of your game,” he said.

During his time in western Loudoun, LoPreto said his most memorable experience came in July 2015, when he organized the “Love in Lovettsville” parade for Tony Porta, a military veteran who lost his arm and was severely burned by an improvised explosive device explosion in Iraq. LoPreto said that because the event took place at the same time the police and fire Olympics were held, he was unsure if he and the community could pull it off, but they did.

“It’s just one of those things where it just happened to come together,” he said. “You couldn’t have asked for a better event.”

LoPreto said that his most memorable experience in law enforcement came in October 2002 when the DC sniper was killing people at random around the region. At that point, LoPreto was working as a lieutenant in Fairfax and was solely responsible for shutting down a portion of I-66 and Rt. 267 when the sniper killed a woman in the Seven Corners Home Depot parking lot.  He said that during those three weeks, he and his colleagues worked 12-16 hour days most of the week, a period he remembers as “probably the most intense time in police work.” “It was pretty intense,” he said.

For his service in western Loudoun, the Lovettsville Town Council has declared March 22 as “Victor LoPreto Day” in town—marking the date LoPreto was sworn in as a Fairfax County police officer 37 years ago.

Retired for a month, LoPreto said that he has no concrete plans for the future, but that he would be working on maintenance on his Leesburg home, where he and his wife have lived for 30 years, and on their Outer Banks beach home.

He said that he’d start making long-term plans come January next year. “Let’s just live and let live and see what happens,” he said.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

Victor LoPreto, a recently retired Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy first class, sorts through a trunk of assorted law enforcement-related items he’s collected from his, and his family’s, experiences throughout the past century.
[Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

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