Down to Two

Santa Fe officials whittle list for next police chief from eight to two

Two finalists for Santa Fe’s next police chief have emerged: Paul Joye, deputy chief of operations and interim chief of SFPD, and Andrew Rodriguez, deputy chief of the Rio Rancho Police Department.

The city plans to hold a public question-and-answer forum with the finalists next week as one of the last steps in the search process. City Manager John Blair expects to announce the new chief in late March.

Officials chose Joye and Rodriguez, according to a city news release sent out Monday afternoon, based on “how well they exemplified qualities identified” in a community survey that closed last week, the “strength of their experience” and their “engagement” with two panels made up of community partners and criminal justice experts that were closed to the public.

Six other candidates for the position who made it on the city’s shortlist—some with checkered histories in law enforcement—were eliminated. One of them, Marshall Katz, a former aviation police chief in Albuquerque, once pulled over two undocumented teenagers and called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, resulting in the deportation of then-19-year-old Ramón Dorado Jr.

City officials had yet to conduct background checks when SFR asked Blair about the candidates’ law enforcement histories on Feb. 15.

Santa Fe’s search for a new police chief began last fall, shortly before the retirement of former Chief Andrew Padilla in December. The city received 13 applications after searching for two and a half months, and announced the shortlist on Feb. 4.

A community survey garnered responses from 366 Santa Feans, which the city published Monday. Some of the top responses to a question about which qualities the next chief should have were integrity, transparency and “values protecting civil rights.”

Asked what the next chief should focus on, the top responses included increased officer training, crime prevention and reduction, increased community outreach and police accountability.

The city also published feedback on each of the candidates, including the six who were eliminated, from the closed-door panels, which concluded Feb. 18. Five of the panelists noted that Joye was the only candidate who didn’t submit a resume and cover letter, opting only to fill out the application.

“This search process is working just as we hoped it would,” Community Health and Safety Department Director Kyra Ochoa said in the news release. “The quality of engagement and input from our public safety and community dialogue sessions is a testament to the importance of the police chief’s role in our city and the quality of civic engagement in Santa Fe.”

The city has yet to release details on the question-and-answer forum set for next week, but the news release notes that questions for the finalists that residents submitted via the survey will be used.

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