Portales Police Department continues searching for new chief - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Portales Police Department continues searching for new chief

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PORTALES, N.M.- There are 8 finalists competing to become police chief following Chief Jeff Gill's departure.

Gill retired early from the department last month to pursue other opportunities. Many speculate his retirement came as a result of a 14-page audit revealing corruption, sloppy evidence handling and officer intimidation. Gill refused to speak with the media about his departure.

City manager Tom Howell says the position will pay between $35,000 and $65,000 a year, depending on prior experience. 

Last month, NewsChannel 10 sat down exclusively with Lt. Mark Cage to talk about efforts to rebuild the department. He acknowledged there's been a lot of negative publicity and news which has tarnished their reputation. To help steer the department back on track, the department has made a few changes.

Earlier this month, the department joined the Ninth District Major Crimes Unit. The partnerships is designed to help various law enforcement agencies throughout eastern New Mexico investigate major crimes such as murders and kidnappings.

The department also implemented a brand new school resource program similar to DARE. Its mission is to build a better relationship with students and bring awareness to the dangers of using drugs and alcohol. Lt. Cage says the department is also going to get more involved with community policing.

Cage informed NewsChannel 10 he is interested in taking over as chief. However, the City of Portales opened up the search to all interested candidates across the county.

A final decision is expected to be made next month.