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Former Campus Police Chief Passes Away

MAGDALENA, N.M. July 17, 2014 – Louie Latasa, a Magdalena native who embraced a three-decade career with the New Mexico Tech Campus Police, including eight years as its chief, has died. He was 69.

            Services will be at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, July 19, at the St. Mary Magdalen Church in Magdalena, with a rosary at 10 a.m. and funeral mass at 10:30 a.m.

            Before joining up with Tech’s Campus police Department, Latasa was the chief of police for the Village of Magdalena for five years; and, prior to that, he served a two-year stint as Magdalena's municipal judge.

            Latasa joined Tech’s Campus Police Department on Oct. 5, 1985, as an officer under then-director and former Socorro County Sheriff, Tom Zimmerman. Latasa was promoted to lieutenant two years later.

            He worked his way through the ranks. In 1997, he was named associate director, and was promoted to the top spot in 1999, when Zimmerman retired. Latasa served as Campus Police Director – or as “Chief,” using the vernacular, until his own retirement on Aug. 31, 2007.

            Latasa was succeeded by Billy Romero; and, several years later, by current director, George Murillo.

            “He was good to work with, very easy-going,” Murillo said of his former boss. “He always came in on time, and had a good rapport with his officers.”

            True. Latasa, in an interview published shortly after his promotion to “chief,” said: “In law enforcement, you’ve got to always be on a one-to-one basis with the people you serve,” he said.  “That’s something that the previous campus police director, Tom Zimmerman, always stressed to his officers, and it’s something I’ll always stress to those who work under me.”

            Latasa, a member of an extended Magdalena family, is remembered as a rather dapper fellow, always impeccably attired, whether on- or off-duty. He is remembered as a kind person for whom family always came first.

New Mexico Tech will update this article as information becomes available.

– NMT –