Española Police Chief Announces Retirement

Gallegos at City council
Chief Richard Gallegos at a City Council meeting in 2015. Valley Daily Post photo

Española Police Chief Announces Retirement

Staff Report

A 26-year career in law enforcement comes to an end this week as Española Police Chief and Director of Public Safety, Richard Gallegos officially retires from what he calls the best job of his life.

Chief Gallegos told the Valley Daily Post that he had been thinking of retiring for some time but his grandchildren are getting older and this is the time.

Mayor Lucero confirmed that Chief Gallegos had spoken to her several months ago about possibly retiring, but it came sooner than she expected. “I certainly appreciate his service and I understand and respect his decision to retire,” said Mayor Lucero.

Gallegos being sworn in for a second term as Chief in March 2016. Valley Daily Post photo

Richard Gallegos began his career with the Española Police Department in 1990, when he was hired as a detention officer. He held that position up until 1993 when Gallegos explains “then police chief Richard Guillen gave me the opportunity of my dreams to be a police officer.” Gallegos attended the State Police Academy in Santa Fe and upon graduation in 1994, started his career as a patrol officer for the City of Española.

In 2002 Gallegos was promoted to the position of Sergeant, and in 2010 was promoted again to acting lieutenant, where he assisted the police chief with operations within the department.

Then in 2013, Gallegos was appointed Deputy Chief. In 2014, Chief Eric Garcia resigned to take a position in Santa Fe, and Mayor Alice Lucero selected Gallegos as Director of Public Safety. The Director of Public Safety oversees the police and fire departments.

It has been a challenge but very rewarding,” said Chief Gallegos, adding, “I have great officers that are very dedicated to their work. This is my second family, which I will miss.”

Gallegos (center) participated on a public safety panel in 2016 with leaders of the county and state law enforcement and the District Attorney. Valley Daily Post photo 

Chief Gallegos said he has been working with the Mayor and the department to prepare for the transition. “I want to sincerely thank Mayor Lucero and all the Council for their support during my tenure as Chief. I will miss the wonderful people here in the valley. It truly is an awesome place to work,” said the Chief.

Mayor Lucero told the Valley Daily Post “I think it was great that he (Chief Gallegos) could end his career as chief. He is very well liked and respected in the community. I wish him a happy retirement.”

Chief Gallegos serves as the face painter at a community concert in Aug. 2016. Valley Daily Post photo

The Mayor added that as part of the transition, an interim Chief will be appointed and she hopes to make a decision by Friday and present the appointment to the City Council for ratification at their first meeting in May.

By that time, the former-chief of police Richard Gallegos will be enjoying his retirement with his family. Gallegos said. “I based my decision to do so to spend time with my grandkids. They are growing too fast.”

Chief Gallegos and his granddaughter Ajaya Gallegos work together at a clean-up day at the city’s Valdez Park in 2015. Valley Daily Post photo