Farmington police seeks new deputy chief

Keith McPheeters retired as deputy chief after 24 years of service

Steve Garrison
Keith McPheeters

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Police Department is seeking a new deputy chief after the retirement of Keith McPheeters.

McPheeters, 52, retired on May 31 after more than 24 years of service with the department. He said Tuesday the decision was "one of the scariest things I've ever done."

"I love the community," he said. "I love the city of Farmington. Up until my last day, I stayed late trying to get everything done."

Police Chief Steve Hebbe said he was happy for McPheeters and his family. He said replacing the former deputy chief would be a challenge for the department, where several senior officials have retired in the past two years.

He said the city will hire from outside the department to replace McPheeters, and he hoped to have a candidate selected by August.

McPheeters said he decided to retire in part to preserve his public employee retirement benefits. He said that due to recent changes to state law, he was effectively being penalized for every year he stayed at the department past the 20-year minimum threshold to retire as a law enforcement officer.

"I just couldn't argue with the math anymore," he said. "I stuck it out for several years, but it wasn't going to get any better, as far as my lifetime earnings."

McPheeters said he would like to continue to serve in law enforcement, and he is currently a finalist for police chief positions in Windsor, Colo., and Moscow, Idaho.

"I am not done making a difference," he said.

McPheeters said one of his goals as deputy chief was for the department to be recognized for excellence by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The department accomplished that goal last July.

He said he was also proud of his work reducing the number of drunken driving fatalities in the community.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.