Long before he wore a law enforcement badge, Columbus Police Officer Chico Lozos was the manager of a Schwan’s warehouse with aspirations to continue growing within the company. But unexpectedly losing a loved one changed those plans.
“My interest in law enforcement came after a tragic event of losing my cousin in an alcohol-related car accident,” Lozos recalled. “After losing my cousin, I decided I wanted to pursue law enforcement to possibly help prevent accidents occurring by being heavily involved in traffic interdiction.”
Fast forward years later, Officer Lozos is a proud and veteran member of the Columbus Police Department. He joined CPD on Sept. 5, 2006, after serving several years with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office. He undoubtedly wears the badge to serve and protect his community, such as on June 21, 2022, when he and several other officers responded to an apartment building in town with an active fire alarm. After arriving on scene, Lozos breached the door and was able to get the resident to safety.
That was one of the many examples the American Legion Hartman Post 84 cited on March 11th when it announced Lozos as its ‘Law Officer of the Year’ during its 104th birthday celebration. Lozos wasn’t able to attend the ceremony as he was supporting his stepson at his wrestling tournament in Kearney that day, but his parents were there that night to accept on his behalf. He later reflected on the accomplishment.
“What means the most about being named ‘Law Enforcement Officer of the Year’ by the American Legion Hartman Post 84 is the fact that it came from true heroes, our men and women that served in the United States Armed Forces,” he said. “I am honored and humbled by the award.”
Columbus Police Capt. Doug Molczyk said Officer Lozos is a great member of the department, praising the officer for earning the honor from the American Legion.
“Officer Lozos is an outstanding officer who put his life on the line to save a person in peril. His selflessness in this act alone goes to show what type of officers we have severing our citizens,” Molczyk said. “We are very proud of Officer Lozos.”
Lozos is no stranger to the area. He was born in nearby David City, though grew up mostly in Schuyler. He would often come to Columbus to visit his grandparents, two uncles and aunt that lived in town, and eventually developed more relationships in the community.
“I obtained some friends through sports in Columbus, and after graduating from high school, I began a short stint at Central Community College on a soccer scholarship before taking a different path in life,” he said. “I lived in Columbus for several years and really enjoyed the amenities Columbus had to offer over my small-town life in Schuyler.”
Officer Lozos also takes pride in being a family man. His wife, Samantha Lozos, works at Columbus Community Hospital in the emergency department as a trauma and stroke coordinator and service line coordinator.
“She’s also currently finishing her degree, and once completed within the next year, she will be a nurse practitioner,” he said.
His stepdaughter, Lydia Dostal, and stepson, Ryker Cech, also live in town and are active in multiple sports in Columbus. His daughter, Audrea Lozos, works at Columbus Medical Center and lives in Columbus with his two grandchildren, Zoey and Cooper. His son, Lane Lozos, lives in Iowa Falls, Iowa, with his fiancé Dr. Whitney Driver, and works in the construction business as a welder, crane operator and supervisor of a crew.
Lozos reiterated he’s appreciative of the honor from the American Legion, though stressed he enjoys what he does because he can make a difference in the community and works alongside great people.
“What I love about what I do is that there are no two days alike. I have been fortunate to have worked on some really good teams and have trust and connection with the officers I work with. I know when things get crazy, I can rely on them to be there right alongside me,” Lozos said.
“What keeps me motivated is the brief moments of excitement in some dangerous situations and the ability to help people in my community that really need it.”