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Former police chief to run for sheriff

By Staff | Feb 7, 2014

Former Rugby Police Chief Luis Coca announced his candidacy for Pierce County Sheriff on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old pastor has lived in Rugby for six years and is the acting police chief in Surrey through Feb. 15.

“There needs to be positive changes done to reflect a professional law enforcement agency,” Coca said. “I don’t think they have the proper management and I know I can bring that there. That’s why I’m running and I want to be sheriff.”

Coca said he’s been encouraged by many people in the community. Coca, who serves as pastor for Liberty Baptist Church in Kief, is the first candidate to challenge Pierce County Sheriff Matt Lunde.

“I’m very concerned about the welfare of the community and I think we need to have an ambassador out there when you’re dealing with other counties and cities,” Coca said.

Coca said he considers the sheriff a friend, but feels he can do a better job than Lunde in the position.

“If I get elected, he will not go unemployed,” Coca said. “There will be a position for him somewhere. I mean that very sincerely.”

Coca, whose son is a police officer in Surrey, was asked to run that police department following an abrupt resignation of the previous chief. Coca said he’s proud to have helped that city in its search for a replacement. He considers his crowning achievement in the previous three months the $100,000 grant he wrote for two fully equipped vehicles.

Coca was chief of police in Rugby from Nov. 2008 through June 2011.

He has also served with the Burlington Police Department and the Ward County Sheriff’s Department.

Coca served as a military police in the U.S. Air Force and obtained the rank of Master Sergeant before he retired in 1987. He served a combat tour in Vietnam, and was stationed in Germany, Korea and Thailand.

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