By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
Retired New Mexico State Police Capt. Daniel Lopez has joined the Tucumcari Police Department as a law enforcement consultant.
City manager John Sutherland made the announcement at Thursday nightï¿½s City Commission meeting.
ï¿½Iï¿½ve started moving in,ï¿½ said Lopez on Friday.
Lopez was selected by the city to be its new chief. However, because of a 90-day separation requirement by PERA, or Public Employees Retirement Association, Lopez is working as a volunteer on a consultant basis so as not to jeopardize his retirement benefits.
ï¿½Iï¿½m still hoping to have the 90-day waiting period waived,ï¿½ Lopez said.
Other newly retired officials have become law enforcement agency heads and have not had to wait for a 90-day period to expire, Lopez said.
Lopezï¿½ retirement became official at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Under his ag
reement with the city, Lopez will serve in an administrative capacity only. For example, he cannot make any arrests, he said.
He can, however, hire, and one of his goals during his consultancy is to fill vacant positions within the department, Lopez said.
The top post at the police deparment became vacant when Police Chief Larry Ham resigned in July.
Sutherland did not say at the city commission meeting what salary Lopez would be paid when he becomes police chief.
If Lopez has to wait the entire 90-day period to be named chief, it will be 90 consecutive days from Sept. 28, he said.