LAPD Sgt. Tim Lonz is working his last shift today, Monday, July 11. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Sgt. Tim Lonz’s ‘Smile’ sign that he began waving to cheer people up during the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a familiar sight at the Trinity roundabout. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Police Department Sgt. Tim Lonz, 38, is retiring from LAPD Nov. 1, however his last day on the job was today, July 11.
Lonz, who grew up in Albuquerque said what got him into law enforcement was that in 2003 he was coaching Special Olympics basketball. One of the parents, Ray Atencio, was a sergeant with Albuquerque Police Department. He asked Lonz if he would ever consider being a police officer. At that time, Lonz was attending UNM on the road to becoming a financial analyst.
“I decided that I would just check it out so I did a couple of ride-alongs with him and really thought it was an interesting job opportunity so I put in for it. At that time, I paid my way through college, so it was a great way for me to earn money while going to college and try and finish my degree,” Lonz said. “I ended up taking a year off to go through the academy and my training and went back to college. That’s when I became a police officer.”
He was 18 years old in 2003 when he went through his first academy which was 16 weeks long. The second academy in 2015 was 28 weeks. In 2006 after some field time he became a plain clothes detective with a permanent response team in Albuquerque.
“There we did violent crimes and basically the fugitive task force. We would track violent offenders. Then I got very interested in the horse-mounted unit so I worked part-time with them for five or six years. The sergeant there was Jimmy Collins who is still in Albuquerque and is a commander right now,” Lonz said. “I worked every area command in Albuquerque. Most of my career was in the northeast or the southeast, so the war zone or kind of close to the Coronado and Winrock Malls.”
He said he went over to Open Space for a little bit to check it out. Then he went to train to be a tactical flight officer and went to ground school for flying.
“In 2011, I ended up breaking my back in a foot chase. They put me in North East Impact and I worked Cold Cases for quite some time and then in 2012 I went to the Bomb Team with the tactical side of the Albuquerque Police Department,” Lonz said.
In 2013 he transitioned to Los Alamos because his wife, Karissa worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 2014 he began working for LAPD and promoted to sergeant in 2015. He went through SWAT School in 2016 and is currently the day shift sergeant. During his career to date, Lonz has received the Medal of Valor, Medal of Merit, multiple pistol expert stars and a Life Saving Commendation.
“I’ve done a lot of things throughout my career – a lot of temporary duty assignments to different areas, checking them out. It’s been great!” Lonz said. “I’m going to miss the guys I work with, the people I work for and being able to interact with the public on the level I do. Where else can you go and hand out stickers to kids at a huge event and not look like a creep to kids, or go to a school and read to the kids. We’re in such a unique position. We have more power than really anybody because we have the ability to take away freedom from someone or give it to them.”
He said he told his guys a long time ago and he wanted them to have this instilled in their heart, that John 15:13 says, “There’s no greater love than this than one laying his life down for another”.
“So the very definition of our job is love. We are willing to risk our lives so other people can enjoy constitutional freedom. What better way to show love than being a police officer! That’s what I’m going to miss most is the love that I can share with other people – be there at the darkest moments at the darkest time – be that calm in the storm they’re going through,” Lonz said.
Lonz noted that the Los Alamos community supports its police officers and that he doesn’t think a lot of police officers don’t realize how blessed they are to be with LAPD. He said he has seen the other side in a reactive police department just answering calls for service with no ability to interact with the public in a positive way.
“I love this job. Securing the future for my family, for my boys, that’s what’s so important to me,” he said. Lonz and his wife Karissa have two sons, Theo, 4 and Harvey, 1 ½.
Lonz has invited community members who have interacted with him to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or timclonz on Instagram so that his boys could hear some stories.