Mountainair hires new police chief

Mountainair hired a new police chief from within its ranks and is seeking two police officers.

That’s according to town clerk Dennis Fulfer.

Police Chief Alfredo Turrieta. Photo by Anjelica Aragon.

Police Chief Alfredo Turrieta. Photo by Anjelica Aragon.

“Alfredo (Freddie) Turrieta is an internal hire,” Fulfer wrote in response to The Independent. He said Turrieta was named chief Jan. 17, and has worked in law enforcement for 20 years.

Town councilor Peter Nieto, who had been very critical of the town’s last police chief Robert Chung—making the motion to fire him about a month ago—said, “I am hopeful for our new Chief. To me, confidence is earned. At this point, I’m ready to see what changes he does, what ideas he brings and how his overall management of the the department goes.”

Nieto continued, “It’s clear we need a complete 180 from what we had, and am hoping he can give that to us. I know as a councilman, I am more than willing to help and support where we can to improve the overall department.”

Mayor Chester Riley had no comment when requested, instead relaying information through the clerk.

Fulfer said the town got five applications for the position, and that the department has two vacancies for police officers. “We would like to encourage anyone who is already certified to apply,” he said. “We filled our school resource officer position with someone who has a degree in criminal justice and will be attending the [police] academy in the summer session.”

Nieto said he is happy about some of the changes in town, including the new chief and additional streetlights the council approved. “A new Chief isn’t going to fix our department,” he said. “We need to review our policies and procedures as a whole. And I think that’s every department, not just police.”

To learn more about the job openings, contact the town of Mountainair at 505-847-2321, or visit its website, mountainairnm.gov, and following the “employment opportunities” link.