Sheriff’s candidate Chris Luchini has eye on bigger picture

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The desire of Los Alamos County to close the county sheriff’s office is not a new idea.

During the last two years, a round of lawsuits between County Sheriff Marco Lucero and the county have embroiled the two in legal battles.

Lawsuits, sheriff’s candidate Chris Luchini said, are a waste of time and resources, and taxpayer money.

He said the lawsuits the sheriff and the county have pending in the courts now would not solve the real problem.

“No matter how that ruling ends up, it’s not going to be the end of the fight. It’s a waste of time effort and money. Let’s stop doing this. We’ve been doing this for sixty years. Let’s please stop,” Luchini said.

Luchini, 54, a business entrepreneur who does contract work for the Department of Enery in Los Alamos County, runs an energy company dealing in oil and gas, and renewable energy. He does not have a law enforcement background.

Luchini would be running against resident Greg White, who has also declared his intentions to run for sheriff. Sheriff Lucero is not able to seek a third term.

If Luchini becomes the next sheriff of Los Alamos County, he said he would seek to combine the sheriff’s office and the Los Alamos Police Department into one office, with the sheriff becoming head of the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office.

“I very much would like to see a sheriff’s department continue,” he said. “The only rational way for that to happen is to transition the current police department into a sheriff’s department,” he said. “That will solve the problem of duplicate law enforcement by having one department, and that would be a sheriff’s department.”

Many county councils have tried through the years, and Luchini says it’s time to end this expensive and resource-consuming battle.

Once elected, Luchini will work to change the charter to combine the departments. Once that’s accomplished, he will then resign to make way for another sheriff.

“People want it, I don’t see any downside to law enforcement in this town simply being a sheriff’s department,” Luchini said. “I will run on that platform and part of my platform will be let’s get this changed in the county charter. I will then resign, and I will not run for that position, once it’s a real department.”

Luchini also believes that having a sheriff to oversee the community’s law enforcement will not lead to an abuse of power.

“I don‘t think that’s a danger in this community and  if you‘re going to use that argument than every sheriff in every other county would be a similar danger,” Luchini said. “Yes, these things happen, but they happen very rarely, and I have faith in the voters of this county.”

Luchini is the chair of the Libertarian Party of New Mexico, and is the vice chair of the Los Alamos Libertarian Party.

Incidentally, County Council Candidate Helen Milenski is vice chair of the state party and chair of the local party.

“Basically it’s a philosophy that says don’t hurt people or take their stuff, and that there should be the limits of government power,” Luchini said. He also said however that law enforcement needs to be carried out by a competent government, and that law enforcement and the judiciary should be run intelligently.