Portales council pleased with pick

The new police chief for the city of Portales was hired for his leadership and training skills, according to Portales city councilors and members of the hiring committee.

"I think he's going to be a great addition to our community because he has a lot of law enforcement and leadership experience and he also emphasized his training experience," said city councilor Dianne Parker, who served on the committee. "He has a lot of connections as far as outside sources with training. With him being from outside of Portales, his area of contacts is really expanded and he can bring more training resources to our officers."

Charles Douglas "Doug" Jones of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was announced as the new police chief for the Portales Police Department Wednesday afternoon in a Portales City Hall press release.

He will replace chief Jeff Gill, who was chief the department for 19 years and retired the end of August.

"Mr. Jones has 27 years of combined law enforcement experience, including positions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department," the press release read.

Jones met with Portales city councilors Friday as the informal top choice candidate but background checks were still incomplete at the time, making the decision informal for the time being, according to city manager Tom Howell.

Jones was chosen out of three final candidates, which also included Lt. Mark Cage, current interim chief for the department, and Shawn Fullagar of Coppell, Texas.

City councilor Leo Lovett, who served on the advisory committee for choosing the new police chief, said he was unable to be present for Jones' in-person interview but upon meeting the top candidate with other city councilors, he was impressed.

"I was very impressed with his credentials, his history, his maturity, which are all things I felt were appropriate at this time with the needs of the community," Lovett said. "I believe he'll be a strong leader for an already good police department and will maintain the strong focus that the department has already been maintaining."

Jones said the reason he was eager to have the Portales police chief position is because he remembers the friendliness of New Mexico citizens from his first assignment as an FBI agent in Albuquerque.

"I remember in Albuquerque, I was going somewhere on Saturday and blew a tire and I had three or four cars stop to render assistance and I will always remember the friendliness of New Mexico citizens," he said. "That's my biggest reason (for wanting to come) is I remember that friendliness. I can't wait to get back. And I know it's the same friendliness with the folks there in Portales."

Jones declined to comment further on his new position until he arrives in the Portales community.

The new chief is set to begin work on Nov. 12 and will be started at an annual salary of $61,000.

Howell said it is standard procedure for new management employees to be on a one-year probationary period and be evaluated six months and one year into their employment.

He said now that Jones has been hired, he will be required to obtain his New Mexico certification within his one-year probationary period, which will entail him taking a week-long class with the state.

Police department personnel had not yet been informed of the decision Wednesday afternoon but seemed positive about the news.

"Regardless of who the chief is, I'm going to come into work every day and give my 100 percent and I think that's true of anyone in this type of service industry," said Sgt. Kirk Wilson, the professional services sergeant.

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