10 to Watch

Lt. Luis San Lucas

Providence Police Department Director of Training


• 49 years old
• Born in Ecuador and spent childhood in New Jersey, but, “I consider Providence my hometown”
• He’s served in both the Marines and the Army, and been deployed during combat operations in both Iraq and Bosnia
• He attended college through RIC’s Upward Bound program and has volunteered on its scholarship committee for the past 20 years

Why He Made the List
There was a lot of debate about public safety in Providence during this past election, but everyone seemed to agree on three things: we need more officers in the streets, we need to (re)focus on community policing and we need an increasingly diverse police department. Lt. Luis San Lucas represents the intersection of all three. As PPD’s Director of Training, he oversaw the most recent academy class, putting 53 badly needed new sets of boots on the ground for an understaffed department. As former Commander of District 4, which encompasses Federal Hill and the West End, and a 25-year veteran of the department, he has spent his career building the relationships that make community policing work. Finally, San Lucas, who serves as Vice President of the Rhode Island Hispanic Officers Association, just trained the most diverse academy class in Providence Police history.

What He's Done Differently
San Lucas’ goal is to put a better educated, better trained and increasingly professionalized police officer on the streets. This was reflected in recruiting: “When I came on in 1989, you didn’t have the officers in my academy with the higher educational level that we see today. The average officer in the last academy was 26-years-old. Most of them have either a four-year degree – a lot of those concentrated in criminal justice – or a two-year degree,” he notes. San Lucas also provided these more highly educated recruits a higher level of instruction. The curriculum was certified by the RI Police Officers Commission on Standards and Training. Instructors were certified through a new partnership with the Roger Williams University Justice System Training & Research Institute. San Lucas finished by conducting an After Action Review to learn lessons for the next class. These were all firsts for the Providence Police Academy. “Law enforcement has become a complex profession, and the training for officers has to be reflective of the technological advances and the socio-economic and demographical changes in our society,” he says. “In today’s modern law enforcement world, police training is as important as doctors attending medical school or lawyers passing the bar exam.”

What's Next For Him
If City Hall says go, San Lucas is ready to oversee another academy class. After that, he hopes to return to Patrol Division. “I enjoy being out on the streets, close to the rank and file officers, facing the daily challenges,” he says.

San Lucas has an extensive range of law enforcement and military experience. He’s close to the rank and file, and respected in the community. He’s Latino and from the West End. He’s a veteran who’s risen through the ranks, and assuming another academy class, will have trained a significant percentage of active officers. If the new administration is looking for leadership to emerge from within the department, Lt. San Lucas may be on the rise.


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