Officer Cortijo was born on August 13, 1962, in Torrance, California. He was raised in a variety of cities including Torrance, Simi Valley and North Hollywood. As a young boy, he took up surfing and fit the mold of the Southern California lifestyle including driving a Volkswagen bug.
As a young man, he demonstrated his loyalty and commitment to serving others and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served as a member of the Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment and served as a member of the Military Police.
Officer Cortijo continued a life of service as a 26-year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department. Officer Cortijo joined the Department in July 1987. After his probation, he transferred to West Traffic Division and ultimately dedicated his law enforcement career to traffic enforcement. He worked in the capacity of a Collision Investigator for three years in both Central Traffic Division and West Traffic Division. He became a two-wheel motor officer in 1992. Officer Cortijo was assigned to Valley Traffic Division in 1995 and worked the DUI Task Force Team for seventeen years. He committed his daily efforts to arresting DUI drivers and making the streets safer.
Officer Cortijo was well respected and had a decorated career receiving more than 120 commendations for his significant contributions including teamwork, professionalism, dedication, integrity, acceptance of responsibility and personal pride. Above and beyond those accolades, Officer Cortijo was honored as employee of the year both in 2002 and recently in 2013, when he was publicly recognized for making 171 DUI arrests during the course of the year. He has dedicated himself to protecting others and keeping the community safe. In doing so, Officer Cortijo was responsible for the arrest and apprehension of more than 3,000 DUI drivers. This is a true testament to his commitment to public service.
Officer Cortijo was well recognized for his involvement and success in the coordination and management of the San Fernando Valley DUI Checkpoints. In addition, he has been influential in the continued success of receiving grant funding for future operations.
It is with great sorrow that we say goodbye to a brother, described by his friends and family as a good man with a big heart, who selflessly dedicated his life to protecting others and saving lives. Those who knew him, will always remember that proud and distinct smile he wore when speaking about his son.
Officer Cortijo patrolled the streets of the San Fernando Valley, which encompasses the area south of Foothill Boulevard to Mulholland Pass and between Valley Circle and Lowell Avenue, approximately 244 square miles.
Officer Cortijo was a valuable member of the VTD team and his knowledge in DUI enforcement cannot be overstated. His peers and supervisors often relied on Officer Cortijo’s knowledge of DUI enforcement and DUI case law to improve DUI enforcement efforts.
There is no doubt that Officer Cortijo’s dedication to DUI enforcement has saved numerous lives and made Los Angeles and its surrounding communities a much safer place to commute and reside. The Los Angeles Police Department, VTD, is honored and appreciative of Officer Cortijo’s dedication and loyalty to the communities he served.
Officer Cortijo is survived by his beloved partner Lillie Price, his son Jonathan Cortijo, brother Jonathon Womack and daughter Christina Beal.