Q&A: Ex-marine leads police force

By Eric Norwood Jr.

PNT staff writer


Interim police chief Pat Gallegos has come a long way. Nineteen years ago he had just graduated from Portales High School and was headed to the Marines and now Gallegos is the Interim Chief of Police. With the police department in an uncertain situation after the resignation of former Chief Doug Jones, Gallegos looks to provide steady leadership during his time as the

Pat Gallegos Portales interim police chief

Pat Gallegos
Portales interim
police chief



Where are you from? Why and how did you become a police officer?

I was born and raised in Portales, and I graduated from Portales High School in 1994. I left for Marine Corp boot camp two weeks after graduating high school. I stayed in the Marines for four years and I lived in San Diego during my tour with the Marines.

When I knew I was going to separate from the Marine Corp, my wife, Bernadette Gallegos, and I decided to move to Gallup, so she could finish her degree.

Bernadette moved to Gallup a few months before I did and she began looking for jobs for me in Gallup I applied for the fire department and the police department. I moved to Gallup in 1998 and the police department called me first. I began working for the Gallup Police Department in June of 1998 and I worked for Gallup Police Department until April 2008.

I moved back to Portales in April 2008 and I began working for the Portales Police Department.


Who is someone you look up to?

I look up to my father, Reggie Aguilar, who taught me right from wrong. He was always there when I needed him and I hate to say it but, he was there when I messed up ready to set me straight.

He is a very hard working man and does not complain about having to work as hard as he does.

He is the reason why I have been so successful over my career.


Tell us some of your hobbies or interests.

During football season you can catch me in front of the TV watching football. Whether it is college or a NFL game I love watching football.

During the summer I like working in my backyard and I planted a little garden for the first time this year. I enjoyed the garden, but I realize now that I did make a few mistakes when I planted the garden.

I will continue next summer with another garden, but hopefully with fewer mistakes.


What is your favorite meal?

My wife cooks a lot of great meals, but I have to admit that nothing beats my mom’s red chili enchiladas.


What are your goals as interim chief?

My goals as interim chief are to:

  • Provide realistic departmental guidelines and policies.
  • Recruit and retain the best possible police officers.
  • Provide quality training for every entry level of the organization.
  • Promote police conduct that is responsive and sensitive to the needs of the community.
  • Require aggressive crime fighting to improve the utilization of patrol and investigative resources in the identification, arrest, and conviction of individuals committing criminal activity within our jurisdiction.
  • Require a professional work ethic and professional work product by officers engaged in routine police duties, and preliminary and follow-up investigations.
  • Enhance the role of department personnel in the planning and development process.
  • Recognize exceptional work by police employees.
  • Stress the responsibility of all employees to be accountable to the department and the community for all his/her actions.


Will be you applying for the full-time position?

Yes, I would apply for the full-time position as long as I meet the qualifications that would be set by the city of Portales.


Give us your Super Bowl prediction.

My NFL team is the Miami Dolphins and of course I would love for the Dolphins to win the Super Bowl, but at this moment in time the Denver Broncos are playing great and I would pick the Broncos to win.


What is a memorable moment in your police career?

One of the best moments I can remember in my career was when I was with the Gallup Police Department and I was involved with shop with a cop.

My duty that day was to pick up a brother and a sister from one of the local motels. When I arrived at the motel I could see them looking through the window and they began to jump up and down with excitement when I drove up. They were living in the motel with their mother and they all shared one bed with one bathroom. They were so appreciative of the police on that day and everything that we gave them.

Each child received breakfast provided by McDonald’s and $100 gift card to shop at Wal-Mart. The brother and sister spent their money on clothes and toys for themselves, but they also bought a Christmas gift for their mother.

After the shopping was done, everyone got into the police vehicles and we drove the children over to the movie theater, where food and a movie were provided.

The excitement and enjoyment that they showed on that day will forever be remembered.

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