Letter to the editor: To the residents of the City of Alamosa and the surrounding area

After many years of service to the community I have reached the decision that it is time for me to retire from the Alamosa Police Department.

This letter is to thank the many, too many to identify individually, persons who have been important to me in my career. In 40 years of service there have been so many. I must mention the city council, both past and present. It is never easy to tell someone what their value is when balanced against tax dollars. Although I will always believe that I gave the city more than I was paid for, I truly believe that the members of the city council always acted in good faith in setting our pay and benefits.

In my recent years I have had the opportunity to work as the school resource officer. I must express my utmost thanks to the school board, the school administration, the wonderful staff, and the uplifting students for their positive attitudes and support. At a time in my career when I was probably at my lowest mentally, the position at the school reinforced my faith and my belief in myself and in humanity.

I must mention the San Luis Valley Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team. This little known but compassionate group has done a massive amount of good through the years. This team, of which I was a member, has been involved in critical incidents and stress debriefings for over 25 years. We have been involved in incidents across the nation, 911 and the Oklahoma City Bombing, along with numerous incidents around the state.

I thank the people of this valley wide community that have always been the base for my police career. No police officer, police department, sheriff’s office, or other law enforcement agency could survive without the support of the people. We are too few without the people supporting us to do the job that is needed. Both sides need to remember this.

In recent times there have innumerable accusations of police misconduct. There are, in fact, some officers who make bad decisions. I tell young officers that their job is to gather all evidence both for and against before making the decision to charge someone. I would ask the people to do the same when an officer is accused.

The last group that I will want to thank is the emergency responders who have entered my circle. It takes all, police officers, Emergency Medical Technicians, firemen, dispatchers, secretaries, district attorney staffs, and all the other law enforcement professionals that do the lesser known jobs. All of you have made me a better officer and human being by your being in your profession. Take great pride in what you do.

I must also say that I could not have survived the bad days, of which there were many, without my God and my family. My belief is that there is no human being that can handle what occurs in police work without those supports.

There will be a reception at Alamosa City Hall to celebrate my retirement on June 23rd at 2 p.m. Stop by if you want to talk.

Bruce Lukow

Soon to be retired police officer