New Mexico

Sunland Park getting new police chief; audit reveals department lacks integrity

Sunland Park Police Dept. lacks...

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - The Sunland Park Police Department is getting a new police chief as it deals with the fallout from an audit stating it lacks integrity, City Manager Bob Gallagher said.

Gallagher told ABC-7 an internal audit conducted by an outside firm revealed evidence had been lost in cases and information had been leaked to other sources by certified officers within the department.

Gallagher said this resulted in some cases being dropped, although he could not say how many.

"I was not happy with what I found," Gallagher said. "I think that department lacks an enormous amount of training in some areas, that department lacks integrity, it's a big charge for your police department."

Gallagher said as a result, officers have lost their jobs, or chosen to resign.

"I can tell you there are somewhere between 4-5 positions over the past six months up until today that are now or have been vacant because of those reasons," Gallagher said.

Gallagher would not say who is investigating the allegations or if charges are being filed.

When asked if he believed the audits findings suggest there was corruption in the department, Gallagher said, "I would suggest some of the things I found would border on the line of corrupt."

The city has since hired Javier Guerra as its new police chief. A few months ago, former chief Jaime Reyes stepped down from the position, saying he needed to spend more time with his family.

Guerra has 41 years of law enforcement experience. He is currently a commission deputy with the Dona Ana County Sheriff's  Department and runs its intelligence unit. Guerra will step down from that position and serve as Sunland Park's police chief starting March 7, 2017.



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