LLPD Police Chief Frank Lucero

Frank Lucero is the chief of police for the Los Lunas Police Department and a self-proclaimed “gear head.” He’s been in law enforcement for 15.5 years. His family includes his wife, Leighanna; daughters Ellie and Mia; and sons, Marcus and Isaac.

 

He was recently appointed to the position by Mayor Charles Griego. Lucero says police officers are also members of the community.

 

Q

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

A

“When I am alone in my vehicle I typically outline my course of action for my day — identifying and prioritizing my tasks, and running as many potential scenarios I can think of through my mind for any given situation I have going on. I do this in order to try to see things from all possible perspectives. I feel that in order to make the best possible choices a person has to consider things from all sides. I follow up to make sure I have completed the necessary tasks for the day. I also like to reflect on my day and the choices I have made, to see if there was anything I could have done better, and try to incorporate that improvement into my routine.”

 

Q

 What’s a myth about your profession you’d like to bust?

A

“I think the most common misconception about police officers is that we are somehow above or immune to what happens in the community. Most of the police officers that work for LLPD also live within the Los Lunas community. We experience community issues two-fold because we deal with them both personally and professionally. We experience the inconveniences just like everyone else, like sitting in traffic for example. In all reality, we are people just like everyone else. We all have life challenges. We are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, etc.

“We have good days, bad days and everything in between. We laugh at times, and others we cry, but we put on a brave face every day for our community. We are the members of the community that have been tasked full-time with enforcing the social contract (laws) enacted by the people of our community. We are people, just like you!”

 

Q

What were you like in high school?

A

 “In high school I was mostly concerned with spending time with friends and having fun. For the most part, I got along with everyone. I have always been a gear head. I was interested in muscle cars, mostly 5.0 Mustangs. I still am to this day. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Moreno’s auto class.

“I also enjoyed writing and journalism in general, and was an editor for the school yearbook throughout high school. I’m sure Mrs. Thomas still remembers yelling at me!”

 

Q

What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?

A

 “The one bit of advice I received most recently that left an impression on me was from an employee with a company that was getting our department setup with our new radios. After spending two full days helping me learn all the ins and outs, he was about to leave. He stopped and told me I would be receiving a survey via email to rate his performance and my experience with him. He told me he would really appreciate it if I took the time to complete the survey for him.

“He told me about some advice he had received many years ago from a contractor he had hired to work on his house. He said, ‘You can do a thousand jobs perfectly, but it only takes one bad job to completely ruin your reputation.’ He said, ‘You are only as good as your last job.’ His story and that advice really hit deep. I try my best on each and every ‘job’ I do, because it is true.”

 

Los Lunas Police Chief Frank Lucero and his four children, pictured left to right, Mia, Isaac, Ellie and Marcus.

Frank Lucero lounges with his Great Dane “lap dog,” Moose.

Frank Lucero with his wife, Leighanna; children, Mia, Marcus, Ellie and Isaac; and Great Dane Moose.

Q

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A

“When I was little I was interested in becoming a mechanic, because that is what my father did his entire career. I remember he bought me my first set of tools and I used them to completely disassemble my red, Radio Flyer wagon! I managed to put it back together, too. I have looked up to police officers my whole life. I remember the D.A.R.E and G.R.E.A.T programs when I was in elementary and middle school. Ever since I experienced the D.A.R.E program in elementary school, I wanted to be a police officer.

“As I got older, I got my first job here in Los Lunas at Walgreens. I started as a cashier and ended up in the pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. I realized the retail setting was not for me and ended up fulfilling my dream of becoming a police officer in 2006.”

 

Q

 Who inspires you?

A

 “I believe there is a lesson to be learned from all people around us. I try hard to learn as much as I can from anyone in any situation, even if it is what not to do. My wife and especially my kids motivate me every day to do my best. After all, I am setting an example for my kids and I want to be a positive role model in their lives.”

 

Q

If you could work any other job for one day, what would it be and why?

A

 “I would be a teacher. I think teacher’s roles in our children’s lives and the overall success of our community are incredibly important. They are over-worked, under-paid and under-appreciated. I am considering becoming a teacher after retiring from law enforcement because I love kids and want to help them succeed.”

 

Q

What do you do in your free time?

A

 “In my free time I like to be with my family. Summertime is my favorite because we spend the majority of our time outside. I also like working on my diesel truck, and tinkering with electronics. I like to repair electronics in my free time and I am also a HAM radio operator. It has come in handy because I also program and maintain our radios for the department.”

 

 

Frank Lucero, right, with his brother, Jake, who is an L.A. County sheriff’s deputy, installing a bed cover on his truck.

Q

What’s something about you most people don’t know?

A

“I used to be incredibly shy. This profession as well as media relations training has helped to bring me out of my shell. It is interesting because now I thoroughly enjoy talking to everyone. I consider myself to be approachable and open to conversation.”

 

Q

What three books would you take to a deserted island?

A

 “I would take the Bible; I enjoy Proverbs. A survivalist handbook in case something happens, and a leadership book. I enjoy leadership and discipline-type readings because they apply so much to my everyday life. Not only as the police chief, but as a father. I have been wanting to read ‘Extreme Ownership’ by Navy Seal Jocko Willink for some time now.”

Q

 You find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

A

“I would first do my best to try to identify the rightful owner of the lottery ticket. If I ended up with it, I would first take care of all of my parents. I come from a divorced family and am married, so I have three sets of parents. I would ensure they had no more bills to pay. I owe them all so much for all they have done for me in life. I would put some of it in a trust for my kids, and I would invest some, and would donate some to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.”

 

Q

 Who is your best friend and why?

A

“My wife is my best friend and soulmate. We navigate through the hectic life of incredibly demanding full-time jobs while I am simultaneously continuing my college education, all the while raising four kids in a blended family. We have two girls and two boys. The girls are 6 and 7, the boys are 10 and 12. There is not a whole lot my wife and I have not experienced in life at this point, and I know that our life experiences have made us stronger through our love, appreciation and respect for each other.”

 

Q

What’s your favorite song to sing when you’re alone?

A

“I listen to country music the majority of the time. I prefer it because most country songs have a story to tell. George Strait will always be the king, and there are many of his songs I often sing along to. I do like some of the newer artists as well — Jon Pardi is another one of my favorites. My favorite thing to do is to sing George Strait or Jon Pardi songs with my daughters, they will put on their cowgirl hats and boots, and sing with me. It makes my heart smile.”

 

Q

Where is your happy place, and why?

A

“My happy place is at home with my family, because they are my whole world.”

 

Q

 Have you had a life-changing experience that led you to where you are today?

A

“Working the streets as a police officer exposes a person to a variety of experiences. Many different experiences can be had in just one shift, much less years’ worth of service. Good and bad, many that will stay with you forever. I know all of my experiences as a police officer have been incredibly humbling. We all have life challenges, and you never know what is going on in a person’s life. When you think you are having a bad day, ask yourself, how bad is it really? There are other people, within our own community, going through much worse.

“It has helped me to think positive, not to take things for granted and to have appreciation even when I think I am having a bad day.”

 

Q

What teacher had the greatest impact on you?

A

 “My home economics teacher in sixth grade, Mrs. Newman. I still use many of the lessons learned from her today!”

 

Q

What is your favorite movie scene and why?

A

“One of my all-time favorite movies that I quote with my kids frequently is the Sandlot. It reminds me of my childhood with my brothers and still cracks me up to this day.”

 

Q

 If you could have dinner with one famous person — dead or alive ­­— who would it be and why?

A

 “My grandfather Sam Lucero. He was famous to me. He passed away when I was in high school. I know he would be overjoyed to meet his great-grandchildren and to see how successful we all are today.”

 

Q

What are you most proud of?

A

 “I am proud of where I am today, not only in my career but overall how I have grown as a person, as a father and husband. I am incredibly proud of my children and the wonderful humans they are growing into.”

 

Q

 How would you like to be remembered?

A

 “I hope to be remembered as a good person that contributed to the better of my community, a good father and role model to my children, and a good husband.”

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