Chuck Franco is the First Gentleman of the State of New Mexico. Prior to moving to Santa Fe with his wife of two decades, Governo
r Susana Martinez, Franco concluded a career in law enforcement that spanned over thirty years and included service as a game warden, police officer, Magistrate Judge and Undersheriff.
Throughout his career, Chuck Franco has focused on working with and helping people in communities throughout New Mexico.
Franco, 55, was born and raised in Las Cruces and while much of his law enforcement career was spent in Doña Ana County, his service to New Mexico has led him to every corner of the state including the Burro Mountains between Lordsburg and Silver City, and Fort Bayard in Santa Clara.
Most recently, Franco served for nearly six years as Doña Ana County Undersheriff until late 2010. Prior to that, he worked for several years as an officer with the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Police Department.
Shortly after retiring from law enforcement in 2001, Franco directed his attention to aiding young men and women. He focused on that specifically for two years when he worked as a teen coordinator with A. Fielder Memorial Safe Haven Weed and Seed. This is a federal program preventing, controlling and reducing violent crime, drug abuse and gang activity, and assisting at-risk youth in high-crime neighborhoods.
Mr. Franco’s long career in law enforcement also included time as an officer in the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department where he served for three years. In advance of that, Franco served as a magistrate people’s court judge, to which he was appointed by Governor Gary Johnson and subsequently won election.
For nearly 17 years, Franco served in the Las Cruces Police Department where he worked to protect his community.
In 1981, Franco’s love of nature led him to work with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. His term as a game warden was the result of Franco participating in the department’s cooperative program for college students allowing them to study with veterinarians and biologists. While obtaining his degree at NMSU, Franco participated in numerous studies of elk, mountain lions and mule deer. He completed the police academy in 1978 and obtained his degree in Criminal Justice in 1981.
Mr. Franco enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly hunting, fishing and around horses. In Santa Fe, he has lent his experience and expertise to his wife, and will continue his service to the state. Both Franco and the Governor return often to their home in Las Cruces to visit family, which includes the couple’s son Carlo, who is Martinez’s stepson. Carlo recently served his country honorably with the U. S. Navy Special Forces and is currently a firefighter in Las Cruces and a student at New Mexico State University .