Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
When Anthony Sanchez was sworn in as a Rio Rancho police officer last month, he wasn’t just celebrating the end of a six-month police academy.
It marked the end of a yearslong journey to join his twin brother, Gabe, in the same department and the fruition of a dream they’d shared since childhood.
The Sanchez brothers, who graduated from Cibola High School in 2008, grew up wanting to be police officers, Gabe said. No one in the family had ever worked in law enforcement.
“They weren’t excited about the idea of me having to carry a gun every day and go out and do what police officers do,” Gabe said. “I always told my mom, and she always told me to be something else, like a businessman or banker.”
When they were 21 years old, the brothers, now 29, applied to be police officers. Only Gabe was accepted.
Anthony instead got a degree in applied sciences and took a job as electrician. He married and started a family. But the dream of being an officer stayed with him.
“I didn’t feel like I was fulfilled in my career,” he said. “I felt like I wasn’t using my full potential.”
It’s not easy to become an officer. Anthony did ride-alongs and studied, and he kept applying.
“I knew I wanted to always come back and do it,” he said. “I didn’t want to go through life knowing I didn’t try again.”
More than 1,400 people applied to be in Albuquerque police’s 118th cadet class – which also trains Rio Rancho officers – and only 49 were seated. Anthony was one of them.
On Dec. 21, Gabe pinned the badge on Anthony’s dark blue uniform as part of the class graduation ceremony at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
“I was more proud of him accomplishing what he accomplished – trying out several times and finally getting in – then I was when I graduated,” Gabe said. “It was a great feeling. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire day.”
It didn’t take long for the brothers’ paths to cross in the line of duty. When Gabe arrived at the scene of a major wreck on U.S. 550 last week, Anthony and his field training officer were already on scene.
“To see him in the same uniform, on the same scene, doing the same stuff that I’m doing, it’s like looking back in the past,” Gabe said, recalling his days as a rookie. “It was awesome.”
Anthony noticed Gabe at the same wreck. He said he’ll keep following in his brother’s footsteps.
“It was interesting seeing him operate. Seeing how fluid he is in his movement and how he handled the incident smoothly,” Anthony said. “It makes me want to work toward that.”