Editor:

The announced "retirement" of the Farmington Chief of Police Kyle Westall comes as no shock to me or those familiar wit his record. He has shown very little in the way of leadership. Quite the contrary, he has kept the FPD from excellence in performance,

especially the Detective Division.

It is no coincidence that his announcement comes on the eve of a lawsuit being heard in Gallup this month in reference to complaints of two decorated detectives against the FPD. In this lawsuit there is evidence of obstruction of investigation by Mr. Westall and the FPD in our daughter's death investigation, Tamara Gallegos. He was allowed an incomplete investigation go be closed. He allowed misinformation given to the OMI at autopsy as to "evidence at the scene": due process for advancement in the department for these two detectives was denied. Racial discrimination is alleged; one of the officers was fired three months before his 20 year pension in a very notable case in which the officer had been praised for his work by N.M. state law enforcement one month before (it is ironic that PERA changes pension policies is the stated reason for retirement); and he has shown no initiative in resolving any of the controversies related to the above eases.

We deserve a strong leader in the position of police chief, one that will work tirelessly to see that all cases are SOLVED and ALL evidence is exhausted before cases are closed. What we have had is a "good ol'boy" mentality that has fallen short quality in the FPD. I trust that the city manager has learned a valuable lesson on recruitment and will obtain a qualified candidate this time from the national search that is supposedly underway. we need change in the right direction. The city council would be well advised to scrutinize this choice very carefully and insist that a thorough and meaningful search is conducted before signing off on any candidate.

The investigation into Tamara's death is still open in our minds. We have no resolution or closure and the FPD has not met their obligation to us as citizens of Farmington.

 

Dr. Harold K. McFarling

Farmington