Texas First Responders:  Latino Authors Who Lived to Tell Their Tales


Authentic, sometimes raw and powerfully moving, these stories from award-winning Latino law enforcement authors/officers grip audiences and provide a realistic portrait of men and women committed to fighting crime.  Students who have never considered themselves as writers will come away inspired to write the truths of their own lives.

Feedback in 2014

Sarah Cortez read her winsome poetry with such power in its simplicity. Christopher Hernandez read about a mob and a homicide from his early [police] experiences in South Texas—his tone and description, graphic and realistic. Hipolito Acosta passionately described some of his dangerous and varied immigration [enforcement] experiences. The First Responders panel had our LIFE group begging for more gritty and gruesome stories from real-life law enforcement. Thank you so much for bringing this talented group to Lone Star College – CyFair Branch Library.
— Claire Gunnels, Assistant Library Directory

Feedback in 2013


It was a thrill to have the Hispanic Heritage First Responders Panel featuring Sarah Cortez, Chris Hernandez and Poli Acosta: quite possibly one of the best Writers in Performance events ever. I’m serious.
— Professor Clifford Hudder, Lone Star College – Montgomery
The panel was excellent. Between 60 - 65 students attended. They were completely engaged in the readings and presentations…Best of all, the students asked probing, insightful questions that kept the panel long after the session should have ended.
— Professor Lydia French, Houston Community College – Central.

These panel members will provide the following presentation elements:

  • Their First-Responder history
  • How being  Latino influences their work and their writing
  • Memorable stories
  • Readings from their books

General questions follow the full panel’s presentation with book signings after. 

Panel members’ participation may be limited by availability.  Length of the program can vary according to the needs of your audience.

Panel members – in alphabetical order:


Hipolito M. Acosta – 30 years with US Border Patrol, US Office of Immigration and Naturalization, now retired and full-time author/consultant

In his thirty years working with the US Government, Hipolito M. Acosta was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The son of Mexican-American migrant workers, Mr. Acosta rose through the ranks from Border Patrol Agent to a key position in the Department of Homeland Security.

His domestic career included front line roles in the fight against alien smuggling in positions ranging from Chicago, IL to Brownsville, TX.  In January 2004, he was appointed District Director, US Citizenship & Immigration Services in Houston, a position he held until his retirement on March 31, 2005.  Mr. Acosta is an expert on immigration laws, regulations, policy and procedures, and has led extensive international enforcement operations in Mexico, the Caribbean and the Philippines.  He is the recipient of the Newton-Azrak Award—the highest honor given by the U.S. Border Patrol to individuals for bravery and heroism in the line of duty.  Mr. Acosta’s book, The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico's Deadly Crime Cartels (Atria Books 2012), details his harrowing experience fighting human-trafficking criminals.

For more information, visit www.hipolitoacosta.com.

Sarah Cortez – 19 years as a cop, now Reserve Deputy, Harris County and a poet and author

Sarah Cortez, Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters and winner of the PEN Texas literary award in poetry, is the author of two acclaimed poetry collections based on her experiences as a patrol police officer. She edited Urban Speak: Poetry of the City and Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives, winner of the 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award.  She also edited Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery, Indian Country Noir and You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens, which was short-listed for the 2012 International Latino Book Awards.  Kirkus Reviews hailed the anthology as “a consistent, well-crafted collection.”    In 2012, Ms. Cortez’s memoir, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston was published by Texas Review Press and awarded Honorable Mention for both the Los Angeles Book Fest and the Southwest Book Awards.  In 2013, Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence, was released.  It received both a BRLA 2013 Southwest Book of the Year and the 2013 International Latino Book Award for Focused Non-Fiction (Bilingual).  Her book of poetry about police work, Cold Blue Steel (Texas Review Press) has received rave reviews and is Poetry Finalist for the 2013/2014 Writers’ League of Texas Book Award.  Ms. Cortez’s latest anthology is Goodbye, Mexico: Poems of Remembrance (Texas Review Press, 2015).

For more information, visit www.poetacortez.com.

Christopher Hernandez – 24 year veteran of the US Marines and Texas National Guard, now a police officer and author

Chris Hernandez is a 20-year police officer and 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve and Army National Guard.  Mr. Hernandez spent 18 months in Kosovo as part of the United Nations Civilian Police mission. He deployed as a soldier to Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2009.

He is a blogger and fiction writer. His first novel, Proof of Our Resolve, was e-published by Tactical16 Publishing in 2012 and is now available in print.  Proof of Our Resolve is a novel about a Texas Army National Guard infantry platoon fighting the Taliban in Kapisa province, Afghanistan.  It is a fictionalized account of many of the challenges and extraordinary people that Mr. Hernandez encountered while deployed.  Mr. Hernandez’s second novel, Line in the Valley (2014), brings the terror of the Middle East to the border of Texas.

For more information, visit www.chrisherhandezauthor.com.

Fees and Honoraria will be provided when you call for information. 

For more information and to arrange a booking, please call or email:

Ann Boland, 520-247-0070, ann@annboland.com