BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield Police Chief David Karst said his uncle, a retired state police officer and former San Juan County Sheriff, inspired him to pursue a career in law enforcement.

“Since I was eight years old, that’s all I’ve wanted to do is be a cop,” he said.

His uncle, Conn Brown, sat in the audience at Bloomfield City Hall today as Karst was sworn in as the new Bloomfield Police Chief.

“I was excited and nervous at the same time,” Karst said. “It’s the beginning of a new chapter for my life and also the end of a 13-year run with Farmington, the place I’ve been since I started.”

He said leaving the Farmington Police Department felt bitter-sweet.

Several Farmington police officers, including Chief Steve Hebbe, attended the ceremony to show support for their colleague.

Karst said his time at the Farmington Police Department prepared him for leading the Bloomfield Police Department by providing him with training, experience and the chance to work in various departments within Farmington's police department.

Karst said he anticipates the biggest challenge he will face as the police chief will be the budget.

He said police departments throughout the country are facing fiscal challenges.

“It’s about doing more for less,” he said.

He said his main goal is to gain the community's trust.

Mayor Cynthia Atencio said she was impressed by his knowledge during the interview process.

“This guy came in here and he had done his research,” she said.

She said the biggest thing she hopes Karst accomplishes is increasing the police department’s engagement with the community.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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