The scene was set for a typical meeting of the Tucumcari City Commission Thursday evening with supporters of the embattled Chief of Police Dennis Townsend on one side of the aisle and those accusing him or the Tucumcari Police Department of malfeasance on the other side.
Each side seemed waiting for the “citizen comments” portion of the meeting to begin so they could go to the lectern in front of the commission to either attack or defend the police department. It was then that City Commissioner Antonio Apodaca dropped a bomb shell and announced that he had found a consulting firm who would look into the situation surrounding the police department and report back to the commission on their findings.
Apodaca said he had talked with FKR Consulting a “law enforcement consulting firm” and asked their president, Mark A. Radosevich, to come to Tucumcari and serve in their consulting capacity with the commission and the police department. “We are employing them to see how things are being handled,” said Apodaca.
Radosevich said he wanted it made clear to everyone that his firm, “doesn’t do investigations. We are hired to consult and look into policy and procedures.” Mayor Mary Mayfield said that was exactly what the commission wanted because the role of the commission was to deal with just those policy and procedures. Radosevich, a veteran of over 20 years in police work, said that by consulting with law enforcement and looking into local policy and procedures, they can come up with possible suggestions and directions that different entities like city commissions might use to alleviate problems. Radosevich, whose firm is located in Grants, said that he and other members of his firm such as his brother Frank who is currently the chief of police of the Bernalillo Police Department would be talking to citizens, city employees, police officers and others to get a complete picture of policing in Tucumcari.
George Aragon, whose complaint two months ago began the controversy surrounding the police department, asked Radosevich how long he anticipated it would take FKR to finish. Frank Radosevich said it should not take much more than 30 days once they actually began and got access to records, “fair short order”. Aragon said he applauded the “outside firm” coming in to look into the situation. Aragon’s point of view was echoed by assistant district attorney Don Shute who said he too felt the hiring of the consulting firm as an independent fact finding body was a positive move.
All commissioners present agreed that the hiring of the consulting firm was a step in the right direction.
“I see no harm in this,” said City Commissioner Jim Witcher. “I think it will exonerate our police force.