Edgewood is poised to hire a new police chief, and appointed an interim chief last week, among other business at its regular town council meeting.

The council also held public hearings on a zone change for a piece of property near Walmart and approved findings of fact and conclusions of law on zoning for a portion of the Hillcrest Master Plan.

Police Chief Fred Radosevich attended his last town council meeting, retiring after 38 years in law enforcement. Spending more time with his family tops his retirement to-do list, he said.

Meanwhile, Edgewood Mayor John Bassett appointed Officer Jared Kuchan to serve as interim chief.

Bassett said Kuchan would take over as acting chief starting on Radosevich’s last day, which was May 20. The mayor plans interviews with potential replacements that day as well, he said.

“We do need to approve that,” said councilor Sherry Abraham.

Bassett said he understood that making a temporary appointment for acting chief does not require council approval.

Councilor Chuck Ring agreed with Abraham; Bassett pointed out that naming an acting chief was not an action item on the agenda. “I think I do have the authority to put someone on there between meetings,” he said.

After a bit of back and forth, the council agreed.

“It should be next week or so we’ll have somebody figured out,” Bassett said. “That’s just how we had to come up with it. I apologize for not getting it on the agenda sooner.”

The police department was also given “Recognition Status” by the New Mexico Municipal League, in a program sponsored by the New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Mexico Self Insurers’ Fund and the New Mexico Association of Counties. The program is geared toward smaller agencies.

According to a press release from the Municipal League, standards for law enforcement are evaluated in an ongoing process, and compliance is verified through an independent body.

Radosevich said the department had to meet 76 different standards, out of 270 required for a fully accredited department, and praised the team that put the package together for the Municipal League.

Having a set of policies and procedures was the first step, which the council approved a few months ago, Radosevich said.

The department will be formally recognized at the Municipal League’s conference in August, and at a Law Enforcement Conference at the end of the year, he said.

Calling it a “neverending” process, Radosevich said the department will need to continue to update the proofs each year to maintain the recognition status.

In other business, the town council heard reports from Art Swenka from the Estancia Basin Resource Association, a private group that sprang up some years back to battle export of water from the Estancia Basin, and funded the group with $500.

The council then heard a report from John Jones, representing the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee, an intergovernmental agency doing long-term water planning, and authorized funding of that organization for $2,000.

In a public hearing where no member of the public spoke, the council voted unanimously to approve a zone change for a piece of property near Walmart from residential to mixed use zoning.

A second public hearing was to consider findings of fact and conclusions of law for the Hillcrest Master Plan, on a zone designation to mixed use for a portion it on Periwinkle Ridge.

Because Bassett was chairman of Edgewood’s planning and zoning commission that oversaw that Master Plan, the mayor recused himself, turning over the gavel to Mayor pro tem John Abrams.

As Bassett sat down at the back of the room in a spot he occupied for most of the town’s history, he joked, “Back where I belong,” bringing a laugh from the small audience in attendance.

The council unanimously approved the findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.