Portales Police Department Chief Jeff Gill notified city officials Saturday that he will be retiring Sept. 21.
Gill, who has been the chief of the department for close to 19 years, said the decision was his and his alone.
“I’ve given it some thought and I just feel it’s my time to go do something else,” Gill said. “I just think it’s time for me to step down and let someone else step up and bring some new ideas into the department.”
Gill said his decision to retire has nothing to do with his longtime former deputy police chief resigning in December in the wake of criminal charges or a report issued in April critical of Gill’s leadership.
Gill said he has been in law enforcement for 33 years, having began his career as a deputy marshal with the Jemez Springs Police Department in 1979.
Gill came to the Portales Police Department in 1993 from a police training academy in Colorado.
“I wanted to come back to New Mexico and the job in Portales seemed like a good challenge,” he said.
Portales City Manager Tom Howell said the first step for city officials to take is to review the job description for the Portales chief of police and make any changes necessary.
Howell said he expects the process to be completed and the job opening to be publicized no later than Aug. 1.
The position pays between $38,183 to $64,440 depending on an applicants’ experience, according to Howell.
He said a committee of city and police staff and officials will be formed to review applications and conduct interviews.
“We typically try to do things with committees, so we can get a more rounded view,” Howell said.
Howell said he would like the city to accept applications long enough to receive at least several.
“I’d rather take a little more time and get more applicants than have just two or three applicants,” he said.”
Howell said he will decide who will be acting chief until Gill is replaced.
Gill said the transition will be bittersweet for him.
“I stayed here because I liked the city and I liked the community. Not everyone can say they get up every day and love going to work,” he said. “I’ve worked for a lot of departments and trained for a lot and this department has some of the finest men and women, who are very dedicated.”
Gill said he does not know what his future plans are but he would like to do some traveling and return to teaching law enforcement and criminal justice.
“I’m excited about moving on to new challenges and the unknown,” he said. “But I’m sad about leaving an organization I love.”
Gill said he plans to remain local and will do whatever he can to make the department’s transition to a new chief as smooth as possible.
“I’ve invested a lot in it and I care about what happens to it,” Gill said of the police department. “I’ll be around to ease the transition and make sure everything is smooth and gets passed on appropriately.”
“This department is staffed with some excellent officers and staff who work very hard every day to keep Portales safe,” he added. “I’m proud of them all.”