City assigns interim positions in police department

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

As the City of Tucumcari begins advertising for a new police chief, an interim Administrator and Operations Commander have been assigned to keep the department operating.

“We want the public to know that the department is still operating as usual with their safety being their top priority,” City Manager Bobbye Rose said Monday.

Rose said advertisements for the position will be placed in the Quay County Sun, an Albuquerque paper and New Mexico Municipal League publications.

“We are making every effort to hire a new chief for the city,” Rose said

Rose said Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry is acting as the interim administrator.

Cherry said his duties include paying bills, ordering supplies and administrative management. He said the additional role will not effect his duties as fire chief.

“EMS and the fire department are and will continue to operate as usual,” Cherry said.

Tucumcari Police Sgt. Jason Braziel is the interim Operations Commander, Rose said.

Braziel’s duties include assigning and supervising personnel, Cherry said.

“Braziel is handling the law enforcement aspect,” Cherry said.

Braziel said Sgt. Patty Lopez and Sgt. Rusty Shaffer are helping with some of the day-to-day operations.

“I am not responding to actual calls for service,” Braziel said. “I am in the office handling complaints, concerns and questions from the department and public. If there is any major issue they would be forwarded to Mike Cherry.”

Braziel said his main function is to raise the moral of the police department and keep day-to-day operations going.

“I am just trying to steer the ship in the right direction,” Braziel said. “There…is nothing wrong with the department, we are just continuing with business as usual.”

With Braziel’s reassignment the Tucumcari High School’s Resource Officers position is now vacant.

“Sgt. Braziel was the schools resource officer but he has had to give up that duty,” Rose said.

Braziel said at this time no officer has been reassigned to THS.

“We are trying to get an officer out there,” Braziel said. “At the moment we are focusing on some other issues first.”