Lopez becomes police chief

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

It’s official. Daniel Lopez was sworn in as the Tucumcari Police Chief Sunday morning at City Hall.

Lopez has been working as a volunteer for the Tucumcari Police Department since Oct. 1, with the title of police consultant. Lopez retired in September from the New Mexico State Police. Lopez was unable to be sworn in as chief in October because of a 90-day separation requirement by PERA, or Public Employees Retirement Association.

“I am happy that the wait is finally over,” Lopez said. “It is nice to actually have commissioned law enforcement authority so I can actively participate in enforcement activities.”

Lopez’s salary will be $53,000 a year.

During the 90-day period, Lopez served in an administrative capacity only so that he would not jeopardize his retirement benefits. Lopez could not make any arrests but had the authority to hire new officers and employees for the Tucumcari police department.

In that time, Lopez hired five new patrol officers. Lopez said he is pleased with the progress that has been made at the department.

“There have been some significant strides made in the last three months,” Lopez said. “We have added personnel with new hires, and made administrative and operational changes in regards to policies.”