County Council Tables Sheriff’s Office Resolution, Considers Appointing Charter Review Committee

Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero speaks with County Council during its special meeting Wednesday night. Photo by Carol A. Clark/


A line of Los Alamos County residents wait their turn Wednesday night in Council Chambers to give feedback on the proposed resolution to restore the duties of the Sheriff’s Office. Photo by Carol A. Clark/



Los Alamos Daily Post


After engaging in a lengthy discussion and hearing an abundance of comments from the public, the County Council ultimately decided to table a proposed resolution to restore the duties of the Office of Sheriff and raise its budget to some $200,000.

Councilor Pete Sheehey introduced the resolution, which proposed that the approximately $200,000 budget would cover the sheriff’s duties as well as a full-time deputy and administrative assistant. According to the resolution, it would also allow the office to attend training and other expenses. Furthermore, the resolution would provide the transfer of exisiting vehicles as needed to the Sheriff’s Office.

While the resolution was tabled, Council discussed following Councilor James Chrobocinski’s suggestion to create a charter review committee tasked with recommending possible modifications to the section of the Los Alamos County Charter that discusses duties and responsibilities of the police department and sheriff’s office. He requested the item be put on an agenda for a meeting in the near future.

Chrobocinski said he could support Sheehey’s resolution but felt the resolution wouldn’t fully resolve the issue. He added he felt the resolution was a great attempt at compromise between supporters and opponents of the Sheriff’s Office. Still, “We got to end this,” Chrobocinski said.

The charter review committee could do the research to determine the best course of action to reach a final resolution, he said. The committee also would advise the best path for both the police department and sheriff.

Council spoke in favor of a charter review committee. Councilor Antonio Maggiore said he felt the charter is ambiguous about the sheriff’s and police department’s duties. O’Leary also urged for more clarity regarding the sheriff’s duties. “I think there are many things the sheriff can do to serve our community,” she said.

O’Leary pointed out that the police department is undergoing national certification. “We owe it to the sheriff and to the community to be very thorough on what types of activities the sheriff should assume and what activities are appropriately staffed and funded,” she said. “I also think that at the end of the day this is truly about the law.”

O’Leary said she also supports the idea of a charter review committee, adding this issue needs to be resolved expeditiously. A few members of the public who attended the meeting offered a lukewarm response to the idea.

Sheriff Marco Lucero pointed out that the County formed at citizen committee to review the charter years ago and to return to doing the same thing is just making a circle. “To go full circle is not productive and I see it as a waste of time,” he said.

Los Alamos resident Greg White said he felt the Council might exercise bias in choosing the members of the committee.

The meeting had a tumultuous start; Lucero’s attorney, A. Blair Dunn, presented County Council with a writ of mandamus and the County Council immediately went into executive session. Before the special meeting was completed, the Council held another executive session and received word of another potential lawsuit from White.

Lucero explained he was prepared to take his case to court to restore the Sheriff’s Office if a satisfactory resolution could not be reached. Lucero said taking the County to court is not his desire. “We really didn’t want to go this route,” he told the Los Alamos Daily Post. Still, “This has gone on long enough.”

Following these legal threats, Councilor Chris Chandler, an attorney, cautioned her fellow councilors to be careful in their conversation of the issue.

Members of the Los Alamos County Council listen as Sheriff Marco Lucero discusses his office Wednesday night in Council Chambers. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

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