Letter To The Editor: Response To ‘A Mountain Of Reasons To Abolish Office Of Sheriff’

By Sheriff Marco Lucero
Los Alamos County

As your Sheriff I have done my best to enhance public safety in our community. I was told when I first ran for office that politics is dirty business, and I replied, I’m not a politician; I’m a law enforcement officer. It is disappointing when members of our community wrongfully label you as a raving, power seeking and anti-government extremist. Boy, I surely didn’t expect that when I ran to be your Sheriff.

For those of you who know me and what I hold true to, you know that I have done my best to keep a calm professional demeanor. I respect a person’s right to write or speak their opinions. All I ask is that you please keep it civil and be accurate in your allegations.

The anonymous author of the letter wrote that I was in some way “vicious, deceitful and delusional” in my tone in remarks I made regarding council’s decision to transfer duties from the Sheriff’s Office to the Police Department. I told the press my thoughts honestly and calmly. I said and I believe it stinks that council did this without input from the Sheriff and the people of Los Alamos. If this in some way offended you, I apologize.

The author wrote that the sheriff’s office is poorly trained, out of shape “gun toting” old guys looking for criminals. Deputy Robert Farris has been a member of the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Office for long before I was elected.  He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Law Enforcement Academy and worked for several years for the Jemez Marshal’s Office. Deputy James Leach is a retired sergeant with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office in Washington State. Deputy John L. Horne is a retired lieutenant with 19 years of service with the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. Undersheriff John N. Horne has been a deputy with Los Alamos for four years and is an active member of the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. I have been a law enforcement officer for 28 years and was commander of criminal investigations division for 17 years and the Special Weapons and Tactics SWAT team for 16 years.

The Los Alamos Sheriff’s Office has a more professional staff now than it’s ever had. I would certainly like to send the deputies to more continued advanced training, but with a budget of $85,000 that’s just not possible.

Yes we are older than the cadets you see with the Police Department, but there is a reason I choose these officers. With age comes wisdom and knowledge, and we are not combing the town looking for criminals.

I want to clarify another inaccurate comment. The author wrote that deputies and I carry our personal firearms. Yes, I and Undersheriff Horne carry. The only reason we carry and the other deputies don’t is because Undersheriff Horne and I meet the Department of Public Safety firearms qualifications. These qualifications are the same for every law enforcement officer in our state.

The writer points out that Los Alamos is a City and County and that in other counties in our state the Sheriff and Deputies are only responsible for things outside the city limits. This is not the case. The city is within the county in every county in our state, and having worked for another county’s Sheriff’s Office, I can honestly and accurately say that Sheriff Offices throughout our state do plenty of work in the city.

The author writes of my activity during our state’s legislature. Since my election as your Sheriff, I have lobbied for enhanced penalties for crimes against children, qualifications to enhance standards for persons running for the office of sheriff and bills that support and help protect law enforcement officers. The people of Los Alamos know that I support these bills, and I give you my word that none of my lobbying is self-serving.

The author mentions that the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Office is a law suit waiting to happen. Though no public agency is immune to law suits, I am proud to say that since my election, the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Office has not received a single law suit.

The author writes of my deceitful intentions in asking for a free marked Sheriff’s unit so that I could start patrolling and pulling people over to give them tickets. I was never one for traffic duties. I’ve worked the majority of my career in administration and command staff. I can probably count on two hands, the number of traffic citations I’ve issued over the past 28 years. I advised council when requesting this unit that it was not my intent to start patrolling the streets of Los Alamos, and that I was seeking to save wear and tear on by personal vehicles.

The author makes mention of the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse and critically mentions beer drinking nonsense. I want to again clarify, this organization is a charity based 501(c)3, which gives back to our community. The members of this organization volunteer their time and hard work to help other charitable organization in fundraising efforts. This is a great group of people trying to help those in need.

The author continues by alleging more dishonesty on my part, which are also inaccurate allegations. I do however want to comment on the allegation that I am a “Sworn member of the Constitutional Sheriffs Organization.” This too is inaccurate. I am not nor have I ever been a member of this organization. Anyone can place your name online and say what they want to further their cause. I do profess my allegiance to our Country and took an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic.

Your Sheriff,

Marco V. Lucero

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