Chief Rod Lucich sings with a beautiful voice and still worked as a canine officer in Portland

PIONEER PHOTO: CAROL ROSEN - Police Chief Rod Lucich sings at the Veterans Day assembly.It would have been sad if Molalla Police Chief Rod Lucich hadn't been born into a musical family—we might not have been able to enjoy his beautiful baritone.

But Lucich did, indeed, come from a musical family. His mother played the piano and his father played the violin. His mom also sang with the Blue Notes along with his uncle, Denny Clark, and Doc Severinsen, for those of you who remember the band leader on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Severinsen figures large in the family. Lucich's great grandfather, who played the coronet for the U.S. Army band, wrote a scale on a paper bag for Severinsen, who later played trumpet. He also was buddies with Lucich's uncle Denny.

"Doc Severinsen was my idol," said Lucich.

But the musical family doesn't stop there. There's his older brother Mike, who taught music in Hawaii, and his younger brother Bret, who is a professional musician. Brother Todd, who started out as music education, but ended up as a football coach, teaching physical education and as a national sales vice president. Todd worked his way through college with music.

After studying music at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, Lucich came back to Oregon and put his voice to work for Norman Leyden, who directed the Oregon Symphony Pops Series for 30 years.

"I started singing with Leyden singers. There were eight guys and gals singing symphony pops," Lucich said. "There was a sudden opening for a music reader and soloist."

He also joined the Milwaukie Police Department in 1979, moving to the Portland Police Department in 1983 where he became a canine officer.

"I was singing songs like Frank Sinatra sang or today's Michael Buble. Songs that went on the Lucky Strike Hit Parade, big band songs with a full orchestra," said Lucich. "They were fun shows to do. I also played with the Seattle Symphony, in San Diego and Long Beach, Calif., Buffalo Philharmonic, San Diego Symphonic Concerts by Sea World, Indianapolis and Milwaukee. I was blessed and fortunate to be able to do that.Lucich.

"Police work never interfered with my singing. Sometimes I'd work all night and catch a flight that morning and do seven shows in six nights. But the police were accommodating, and I saved vacation time," said Lucich.

He still gets asked to sing for other things.

"Often people post on the Internet [about his singing]. I find it's important that students tune in to learn what came before as at the recent Veteran's Assembly on Nov. 9 at Molalla River Middle School," he said.

"When President H.W. Bush came to Portland to dedicate a police memorial for a police dog that had been killed on duty, I was asked to organize and sing at the ceremony. Probably one reason was that my dog Argus was the first dog killed while in service. His photo is on the wall with all the other police officers that were killed on duty," said Lulich.

Lucich had two other dogs—Jackson and Tabor.

"It gives you a taste in the tragedy," he said relating to Argus's death.

In 2011, Lucich retired from the Portland Police. At that time Molalla School District Superintendent Wayne Kostur called Lucich to suggest he apply for the chief position in Molalla because the current chief was retiring. Leyden was growing older and his wife became ill and he no longer wanted to leave her to travel. So Lucich decided to apply for the job.

Carol Rosen
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