Former Pearland Police Officer Rick Fernandez felt driven to give back to the community outside the capacity of law enforcement. He felt this calling even during the ten years he served on the force.
“I’ve lived in Pearland all of my life,” said Fernandez, who is a Pearland High School graduate. “I loved my roles at the police department, but I just felt called to do something else, yet still serve my brothers and sisters in law enforcement.”
Fernandez spent five years on patrol and then the last four of his years at the agency as the Public Information Officer (PIO), serving as the “spokesperson” for the Pearland Police Department.
“The PIO position taught me a lot about business. I worked on public speaking, eye contact, posture and the like. I asked for feedback from the news crews that covered our press conferences,” Fernandez said.
His interest in business, law enforcement and the support of the community allowed him to open Cop Stop, which celebrated 13 years of business in May.
Contrary to popular belief, Cop Stop doesn’t sell coffee and donuts.
Cop Stop’s vision and goal is to provide the best service to first responders, “Our everyday heroes.” Catering mainly to Police, Fire, Military and EMS, but also open to the public, Cop Stop offers a variety of products, gear and apparel.
“Cop Stop started out as a vision. I put my thoughts on paper. I didn’t have the money to open a storefront at the time until one day, my grandfather told me, ‘Just do it!’ and loaned me the money I needed! I was standing there in the living room and my ideas went from a vision to reality in an instant! My mother retired early so she could help work the counter. This has been truly a family affair,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez says he’s still a cop at heart. “People ask me if I miss being in law enforcement. I do miss the brotherhood and the camaraderie, but honestly, I still see a lot of the same people. Plus, I get to meet new people in the Greater Houston area. We are blessed to have contracts from all over the state, as well as Louisiana,” he said.
Fernandez says the foundation of his business is relying on God and integrity. “Integrity is a very important word; it’s everything. It’s how we earn and keep customers,” he said.
Fernandez measures all potential employees by how he or she matches up to Fernandez’s vision and standard of integrity. “A company is only successful because of the people that work there. Employees that come in early and stay late are the backbone of good customer service,” he said.
Fernandez said that while he’s looking to open a second location soon, he never considered anywhere but Pearland for his flagship store. “Pearland is home. It’s my community. I wanted to stay local and give back to the people who have given me so much,” he said.
Fernandez (third from left) presents Officer DaSilva the Above and Beyond Award, along with the 100 Club of Pearland
Cop Stop has teamed with the 100 Club of Pearland to sponsor the quarterly “Above and Beyond” Award given to a Pearland Peace Officer who assists the community during his or her off-duty time. Fernandez provides a gift card to go with the wooden plaque that is presented to each Officer of the Quarter.
“It’s a privilege to co-sponsor the Above and Beyond Award,” said Fernandez. “The 100 Club of Pearland is dear to me because of my background and what it stands for, which is peace of mind.”
100 Club of Pearland merchandise
Fernandez also stocks 100 Club of Pearland merchandise in Cop Stop.
Fernandez added Scrub Source to the Cop Stop family four years ago. “We offer specialty items for businesses, such as heat transfers, embroidery and alterations,” Fernandez explained. And, of course, they sell scrubs.
Fernandez said that Cop Stop/Scrub Source is now hiring for three salesperson positions and one seamstress. Interested parties can apply in the store, located at 831 Broadway St., Suite F.
As for the future, it looks bright for Fernandez. He hopes to open a gun range that will meet the specific needs of law enforcement officers, as well as a second location, in the next year or two.
To learn more about Cop Stop, visit CopStop.com.
For more information about the Above and Beyond Award, visit 100ClubOfPearland.org.