City looks for new police chief

William Thompson

In the wake of Tucumcari Police Chief Dennis Townsend’s resignation, City Manager Richard Primrose is faced with the task of hiring a new police chief. Primrose said there is no deadline.

“I am currently working on compiling a list of required qualifications for the position, and I am utilizing various tools,” said Primrose. “I’m looking at job postings from other law enforcement agencies, both in and out of New Mexico.”
Primrose said he has specifically sought guidelines from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “I want the best qualified person to run the police department,” he said. “I’m looking for someone that can take our police department and go forward.”

Primrose said he is unsure yet if he will allow other city officials to interview candidates during the hiring process, but he is looking for ways for anyone to be able to have some input. “It has not been determined at this point whether or not a hiring committee will be formed or utilized,” he said, “but I will seek input from anyone wishing to give input, including current Tucumcari Police officers.” The city will be placing ads for a new chief. Primrose said that any recruiting, beyond advertising for the position, would be contrary to a Tucumcari Personnel Ordinance.

“I would tell anyone, however, that Tucumcari is a great place to live,” he said. “I would tell that to anyone.”
Primrose said Tucumcari ordinances require the selection of a new chief to be based on the applicant’s skills, educational background, a personal interview, references and results of pre-employment examinations.
Primrose said he alone is responsible for hiring a new chief and he also alluded to his responsibility once a new chief is hired.

“I am the direct supervisor for all department heads, which includes the Chief of Police, “ he said. “I will work closely with each department head.” Primrose said he visits the police department daily. “I’ve been going over to the police station everyday,” he said, “and to my knowledge the morale of Tucumcari Police officers is good. No one has quit. No one has resigned except the chief and no one has been terminated.”

Primrose said he would like to have a new police chief by the beginning of 2005, but cannot guarantee such an early hire. “The position will be open until a qualified applicant has been hired,” he said.