POSTED: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 6:38pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 8:29pm
ANTHONY, N.M. — The City of Anthony is working to staff their police department after terminating their police chief and losing two other officers at the start of the year.
The city had developed their department to a total of six officers but in a closed session trustees voted to terminate the police chief, an officer and an other officer resigned.
"Unfortunately things happen and people leave," said Mayor Arnulfo Castaneda.
Castaneda said establishing a police department was one of the reasons why the city incorporated in 2010 and a fully staffed department remains a priority.
However, he could not elaborate as to why the officers are no longer employed by the city.
"Because of state law and everything being done in executive session we don't discuss any of that to the public," Castaneda said.
He stressed there are no issues with transparency and the city is doing everything in their power to fill the positions as quickly as possible.
He said the $40,000 chief's position and the two officer positions have been advertised in area newspapers as well as the city website.
Castaneda said they are looking for candidates with prior law enforcement experience that understand the issues of the area.
While the chief's position is filled, the city has promoted one of their officers to acting chief and all three officers on staff are receiving overtime pay to fill the gap.
But residents have noticed less of the city's black police cars on patrol and more of the county's white cruisers.
"The last ouple two weeks I've been seeing less of the Anthony PD and more of the sheriff's," said Anthony resident Laura Moralez.
The Dona Ana County Sheriff's department has always had a presence in the city even after Anthony incorporated.
The department said they will continue providing deputies while the city fills their positions and are making sure they are visible throughout town.
"The sheriff's department is always available to back us up and they're always available for us," Castaneda said acknowledging their strong relationship.
The mayor said by law they have to advertise the positions for two weeks and from there they will interview candidates and hopefully have some in place by February.