Tucumcari police chief placed on leave

By Chris Schmaedeke: Freedom New Mexico

Tucumcari Police Chief Roger Hatcher was placed on paid administrative leave Friday morning, according to City Manager Bobbye Rose.

Hatcher said he was approached by Rose and City Clerk Christine Dougherty about the option of resigning or being fired. He said after arguing about his employment status, Rose and Dougherty consulted with the city attorney and,

“They returned with the paperwork to go on to paid administrative leave,” Hatcher said. “I signed the paperwork and was placed on administrative leave.”

Hatcher, a former Curry County sheriff, said he plans to hire an attorney to fight the decision.

“The city changed their policy in September 2008,” Hatcher said. “I am no longer an at-will employee. I am now a regular employee.”

It is the second time Hatcher has been placed on leave since being hired in February 2008.

Hatcher was also placed on paid administrative leave July 6 after shooting 14-year-old Kailee Martinez with a Taser.

Hatcher returned to duty July 29 after being cleared by an internal investigation of any wrongdoing.

Hatcher said Rose and the city administration have not supported his department and have created a hostile work environment.

“The city has had six different police chiefs in the last couple years,” Hatcher said.

Rose declined comment on Hatcher’s claims or to elaborate on the reasons for placing the chief on leave.