Lt. Adan Urbina was unanimously confirmed Dec.12 by the Moriarty city council to replace retiring police chief Ike Ensey, starting the first of the year.
He was chosen by mayor Ted Hart from within the Moriarty Police Department, where Urbina has served for nine years.
The motion to accept Hart’s recommendation was made by Bobby Ortiz and seconded by Kim Garcia.
Urbina told The Independent he is a Moriarty native and attended Moriarty High School. He has two daughters: Monique who attends South Mountain Elementary in Edgewood and Nevaeh, who attends Edgewood Middle School.
Stepping into his new role as chief, Urbina said he’d like to see the department do more community policing, and “be out there more in the public.”
Ensey, speaking of Urbina, said, “He’s very compassionate and he has empathy. If you don’t have empathy, don’t be a cop. You need to put yourself in their shoes and he’s very much like that.”
Urbina said, “I want to do the best I can for the community, for Moriarty, and make my kids and my family proud, and I want the officers to be happy as well.”
An issue Urbina will be facing is, “competition from outside agencies,” according to Ensey. “What’s going to keep [an officer] here when [they] can go to Albuquerque and earn 10 dollars an hour more. We’re competing with BCSO, Santa Fe city, Santa Fe County. Those are high paying departments. We just become stepping stones for bigger agencies.”
Ensey said in Moriarty officers can take home their police car, “have less stress, a good retirement program,” and officers are allowed to have facial hair, which he said is sometimes a significant factor in recruiting. Also, “We pay a little more than the sheriff’s department,” he said.
Looking back, Ensey said an important change he made to the department was to get an increase in pay for officers at all ranks to make the department more competitive. He said he also recently gained approval of a new animal control building and upgraded the truck.
“Our mayor has been really good to me, good for this department. Everything I’ve asked for; he’s helped me 100 percent,” Ensey said.
Ensey said his plans for retirement include playing guitar in a band. He also wants to further pursue his long-time sport of paragliding.
And, Ensey said, he intends to delve into the paranormal. He said he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his paranormal experiences.
“I started with the sheriff’s department in Estancia,” he said. “That building—all of the deputies knew something was wrong. We’d hear cell doors open and close, water faucets turned on and off. Everybody knew it. It was so bad, the rule was at night you didn’t go in there by yourself, you’d always take another cop in there with you. Nobody wanted to be in there by themselves.”
Urbina said Ensey “taught me a lot in life, to be a better man and a better cop; he’s been like a father figure to be honest.”
Ensey said, “He’ll do a good job,” and speaking to Urbina: “Nobody’s born a chief—make it your own.”
Among other actions at the meeting, several firefighters and EMTs were honored.
The fire department’s second highest commendation, the medal of valor, was awarded to battalion chief, Brian McCloskey for his actions to help injured comrades and direct traffic while himself injured during an EMT vehicle accident Aug. 23 on westbound Interstate 40.
Receiving the fire department’s purple heart medal for injuries sustained in the line of duty Aug. 23 were McCloskey, Robert Dodd and Zachary Christopher.
Receiving the distinguished service commendation bar for their actions stemming from the same Aug. 23 accident were William Jackson, Augustina Sturchio, Ron Sturchio, Phillip Burns, Gianna Anaya, James White and Brenda Robertson.
Jackson was also awarded firefighter of the year and Augustina Sturchio was awarded EMT of the year.