By ALEX MALM
A few years ago, Warwick resident Jeann Lugo made a decision to leave his job working as a client manager for a security firm in the Boston area to become a police officer with the …
By ALEX MALM
A few years ago, Warwick resident Jeann Lugo made a decision to leave his job working as a client manager for a security firm in the Boston area to become a police officer with the Providence Police Department.
“That was unfulfilling for me. I wanted to be doing something in the community,” said Lugo.
On Feb. 21, Lugo announced a new decision, this time he is running to be the next Lieutenant Governor running as a Republican.
“It seems like everything in Rhode Island is either falling apart or is being completely mismanaged,” Lugo said.
Lugo announced his candidacy outside the Providence Place Mall, where a Providence Police Department cruiser was burnt down during the summer of 2020 as part of social justice protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
“I was in that riot serving that night,” Lugo said.
It was one of the moments that made him realize that the state and country was very divided politically and that he wanted to do something about it.
Who is Lugo
Born in Puerto Rico, Lugo and his family migrated to the United States in 1992 when he was five years old. He lived originally in the Valley area of Providence with his mother and two brothers. He attended George J. West Elementary School and later attended San Miguel School. He graduated from CCRI with a degree in General Studies.
Lugo moved to Warwick around 15 years ago originally living in Apponaug and then Buttonwoods before moving to Conimicutt where he lives with his wife and daughter.
In developing his campaign platform Lugo said that he took into account the different lessons he learned in life.
“Everything that I’ve lived through I’m basically running on,” Lugo said.
For Lugo, the Department of Children, Youth and Family isn’t another department in the state budget instead it’s something he experienced firsthand.
It was the summer of 2000 and a domestic incident led to a family being separated by the Providence Police Department/ Social Services.
The 13-year-old boy that was put into the custody of DCYF that day was Lugo.
“I know how much of a hassle, how hard it is for a child to go through that and actually come out in a positive way,” Lugo said.
Lugo said he believes DCYF is not being funded or managed correctly.
Lugo said that, if elected, he would do investigations into different state budgets including DCYF to see where the money is going towards.
“We have to see where the money is actually going,” Lugo said.
As part of his campaign platform, Lugo wants to encourage “community driven police.”
One initiative Lugo pointed to that he thinks should exist in Rhode Island is for a police officer and a sergeant or lieutenant to speak with residents or business owners in the community each month. He said it could be broken up into different districts, wards and/or neighborhoods in different towns and cities in order to give the community a chance to interact with officers.
He said during that time the officers can bring all the different police reports for that area and if there are any questions about a particular incident they can be answered.
Lugo said that the body camera footage could also be provided if that department has it. He said he got the idea after seeing it done in the Boston area.
In Rhode Island, the lieutenant governor position has very little constitutional powers. Over the years those who have run for the position have had different proposals for how to transform the position including eliminating it all together.
Lugo said he thinks the governor and lieutenant governor should run on one ticket like they do in many states. It would then allow the budget for lieutenant governor to be reallocated.
“It’s absurd how much goes toward the Lieutenant Governor,” said Lugo.
Lugo said he also wants to create a bi-partisan inspector general position.
He said in order to fund the inspector General position, the state could allocate a certain portion of the funds from the lieutenant governor budget towards it with the rest going towards the governor’s office.
While in office, Lugo said he wants to work with his staff to create job requirements for the inspector general position.
If elected, Lugo said he would act as an inspector general with no real powers until if or when an official position is created. He said he would investigate different state budgets to find out how funds are being spent.
As a parent, Lugo said that it was really difficult for him to see his daughter upset about having to wear a mask during school.
“It really, really bothered me,” Lugo said.
He said he went to the School Committee to express his concerns and asked that they reconsider their decision based on science. Lugo said that didn’t happen.
At that point, he thought about running for School Committee but ultimately decided against it.
Lugo’s platform for education includes curriculum reform, improving school infrastructure, and he is pro charter and trade schools.
As a police officer, Lugo is used to being in harm’s way and having to take risks.
By running for Lieutenant Governor, Lugo understands he is risking his career.
Lugo explained that after consulting with an attorney with his Union, he learned that he is allowed to campaign for office while continuing to work. However, if he is elected, he would have to resign before being sworn into office.
As Lugo explained, if he is elected his career as a police officer is essentially over.
If he leaves the police department, he will be required to reapply and complete the process over again. He said that because most departments don’t bring on new officers after they are 35 years old, he is likely to “age out” as well.
Lugo is currently 34 years old. If he is elected, he will be 35 when he is sworn into office.
“I don’t feel like I’m doing enough for the state. I’m willing to give up a good job,” Lugo said.
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