Lucero seeks second term

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By Arin McKenna

Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero is making a bid for reelection so he can continue the work he started during his first term in office.
“I feel that we have come a short way in making the sheriff’s office a little more professional and functional since I was first elected, but I think we still have a ways to go,” Lucero said.
“I feel that I could continue to work in cooperation with the local police and surrounding agencies to help better keep our community safe.”
Lucero is the first state certified law enforcement officer to serve as sheriff in the county. He ran for election after retiring from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, where he served for 22 years.
“I’ve been doing this for half my life. I’m 50 years old. I’ve been working in law enforcement for 25 years. I have a state certification as a law enforcement officer, which is a first in Los Alamos, and I feel that experience and training will help make the office a lot more professional,” Lucero said.
Lucero believes he has raised the profile of the county’s sheriff office during his tenure.
“The office is a lot more recognized throughout the state and around the United States when I go to various conferences,” Lucero said.
Lucero is involved with the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association, the National Sheriff’s Association and the Western States Sheriff’s Association. In 2013, he was nominated as “Sheriff of the Year” by his peers in the Western States Sheriff’s Association.
If elected, Lucero intends to keep the open door policy he has maintained.
“I want to show the public that I’m open to any comments or concerns they have and assist them in any way I can by helping them in any law enforcement fashion or just offering advice.”
Lucero also has a couple of goals in mind if reelected, including improving the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry. Lucero worked with a handful of other sheriffs to implement the website.
“I’d like to bring up the efficiency of the website for the sex offenders that we implemented a year ago, the Offender Watch,” Lucero said. “I’d like to make that a little more user-friendly so that people in the community could access that site and gather all the information they need to try to keep their children safe.”
Lucero’s other goal is to get permanent county transportation assigned to the sheriff’s office.
“I also would like to try to convince the council that the sheriff’s office is in desperate need of a vehicle,” Lucero said.
“At the sheriff’s office. we don’t have any type of county assigned transportation. So I’m working every day for the office of the sheriff, and I’m utilizing my big dually 4x4 truck, which is really not fuel-efficient.
“And it’s a little bit humbling when you go to a lot of meetings with other sheriffs throughout the states and they look at you like, ‘You’re the sheriff of your community and they don’t even assign you a vehicle?’ It’s hard to believe for the other sheriffs around the state.”
During his time as sheriff, Lucero has actively worked to increase the responsibilities of the office. Los Alamos is the only community in the state without unincorporated land, which is where a sheriff’s office typically patrols and provides law enforcement.
The county charter assigns all law enforcement duties to the Los Alamos Police Department. It reads, “The sheriff shall have those powers and duties assigned to sheriffs by state statutes, including the powers of a peace officer, but the Sheriff shall not duplicate or perform those duties in this Charter or by ordinance or resolution assigned or delegated to the county’s Police Department.”
The sheriff’s main responsibilities are the service of legal process from various courts, providing court support services and maintaining the local sex offender registry.
Lucero stirred up controversy when he initiated an investigation into a sex offender who had failed to register, then worked with the U.S. Marshal’Service — with some support from the LAPD — to capture him. That type of investigation falls under the jurisdiction of the LAPD.
That incident prompted the Charter Review Committee to consider eliminating the office of sheriff entirely, to avoid similar situations in the future. Lucero, on the other hand, fought to increase the sheriff’s law enforcement responsibilities in the charter.
The Charter Review Committee and the Los Alamos County Council voted to leave the charter unchanged, reasoning that having an elected sheriff was too important to eliminate, but that two law enforcement bodies would create confusion for residents and other law enforcement bodies. The LAPD was the logical choice to maintain public safety, since it operates 24/7.
The sheriff’s office is a part-time position.
When his charter proposal failed, Lucero circulated a petition to have it placed on the general election ballet, but failed to attain enough signatures.
Lucero is running unopposed at this time.