|Sheriff Omar Lucio|
The first thing opponents say about the 84 year old incumbent is that "he's too old." Reports circulated during the 2012 campaign that Lucio napped all day in a Lazy Boy recliner while the department was run by "the Reyna brothers." Yet, those reports don't seem credible as in private conversation, the sheriff seems lucid, thoughtful, alert and knowledgeable. Lucio also frequently appears on the local media, reporting on crimes, incidents and tragedies, always with a certain soft-spoken professionalism.
A better case for replacing Lucio would be his mollycoddling of top assistant Gus Reyna. Here is our MMB report from September 2014:
"Reyna, accompanied by a close male friend, once employed by the sheriff's department, was driving a county vehicle, a 2011 Ford Expedition, when he reportedly collided with a vehicle driven by a 36 year old woman, also once employed by the sheriff's department. Neither operator reported the accident, as required by law in accidents with physical damage exceeding $500. Juan Montoya of El Rrun Rrun blog reported the damage to both vehicles exceeded $7,000. As a sheriff's department employee, Reyna is required to submit to a drug and alcohol screening within two hours of the accident."
|Gus Reyna, backed by former|
Human Resources Director Arnold Flores
A month or so later, Reyna was involved in another accident in a county vehicle, this time resulting in injuries. Reportedly, he refused alcohol and drug testing. Lucio handled both matters "in house" and, allegedly, Reyna checked himself into rehab. With so many victims of those driving under the influence in this country, not to mention local sheriff's deputies apprehending private citizens who drive under the influence, how can the sheriff retain as his top aid someone who, not only drives under the influence, but ignores the rules for reporting accidents and property damage while driving county vehicles?
Another blight on the department under Lucio's tenure is is the revelation in April 2014 eight deputies had to be fired for cheating on their civil service exams. Former Human Resources Director Arnold Flores also took heat in that fiasco.