By JOSE CORRENO, MBA
Independent, soon-to-declare council candidate
In a recent letter to the editor, R. Wayne Hardy had some very harsh things to say about Sheriff Marco Lucero. Mr. Hardy said he would “…observe the antics of our pistol packin’ sheriff with amusement…” and that Sheriff Lucero reminded him of “Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife”.
He also stated that he was surprised Sheriff Lucero didn’t include in his budget request to Council “…for the purchase and upkeep of a horse or two” while “he was wearing his side-arm during his presentation…”.
The tone and content of Mr. Hardy’s letter are wrong on so many levels. First of all, Sheriff Lucero is an actual law enforcement officer, and a very dedicated one. He has tried his best to elevate the office he holds, in accordance with the majority of voters’ wishes. It is the current Council who refuse to abide by what the citizens demand. It is they, not the sheriff, who are wasting taxpayers’ money. The Council would not even allow the sheriff to accept a donated vehicle in which he could do his job.
Second, Mr. Hardy notes that Council approved “…a budget of around $15,500 – which is still too much…” for tracking and registering sex offenders, a job that “…could be done in a few hours per month”. Even that limited scope of work could be potentially dangerous, and if I were doing it, I would want to be armed and have a vehicle in which I might put someone in custody. The small pay is a further insult.
As we know, there has been an ongoing debate about what the Los Alamos County Sheriff may or may not do, because of the county’s special treatment as a “home rule” county. This is what Sheriff Lucero has been litigating in court. In general, state law says “The sheriff shall be conservator of the peace within his county; shall suppress assaults and batteries, and apprehend and commit to jail, all felons and traitors, and cause all offenders to keep the peace and to appear at the next term of the court and answer such charges as may be preferred against them.“ I, and the majority of voters, believe that having additional law enforcement, that is not under and beholden to the Council, is the preferable option in this county.
Furthermore, the law also states “All sheriffs shall at all times be considered as in the discharge of their duties and be allowed to carry arms on their persons.” Why Mr. Hardy would ridicule having more law enforcement, and providing additional security at a public meeting, is rather unfortunate.
I welcome Mr. Hardy’s opinions on policy matters. However, it is rather sad that he resorts to name-calling and belittling a good man who is only trying to better serve our community. Mr. Hardy and the Council should Respect The Voters, and the Sheriff, until and unless another election proves otherwise.