RIO COMMUNITIES — The city of Rio Communities will soon be hiring its first ever police chief. Eleven people have applied for the position.

Rio Communities City Manager Martin Moore said the city council will act as the selection committee — the first step in the hiring process.

“During an executive session at the Feb. 13 meeting, the council will select the finalists to be interviewed,” Moore said. “Ultimately, the mayor will recommend his nomination to the council, who will then vote.”

Moore said after the finalists are selected, interviews will be scheduled. He hopes the mayor and council will be able to appoint someone soon, hopefully in February or March.

Those who applied, include:

•David Bibb, of Albuquerque, has been a police officer with Albuquerque Public Schools since 2015, and worked with the Santa Fe Police Department from 2010 to 2014, and with the Las Vegas, N.M. Police Department from 1993 to 1997.

Bibb also worked for the San Miguel and Santa Fe sheriffs offices.

According to the resume he sent to Rio Communities, Bibb said he was also the chief of police in Las Vegas from November 2018 to July 2020.

He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and sociology from UNM.

•Robbin Burge, of Peralta, also applied for the job in Rio Communities. She retired in 2022 as chief of police at the Isleta Police Department.

She worked for IPD since June 2014 in different capacities, including as a case manager and patrol officer.

Burge also worked for the Albuquerque Police Department from 1989 to 2012.

•Scott Conner, who was chief in Belen for three years before moving on to lead the Mountain Home Police Department in Idaho, has applied for the position.

Before his time in Belen, he was sheriff in De Baca County, and worked as a police commander in Roswell, N.M. He will graduate with a master’s degree in public administration this spring. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern New Mexico University.

•Robert Cordova, of Algodones, N.M., also applied for the top cop job. He has about 25 years of law enforcement and security experience, including four years as a security officer at Presbyterian Health Care from 2016-20, and was a police officer for Albuquerque Public Schools from January to September 2016.

Cordova was a Sandoval County sheriff’s deputy from December 2014 to April 2015, and at Sandia Pueblo from 2010-14. He has also worked for the Rio Rancho Police Department, UNM Police Department.

•Gregg Glasel, who also has a long employment history in law enforcement, was most recently the chief of police in the town of Greensboro, Maryland. He retired as captain from the Miami-Dade Police Department in 2018, where he oversaw the forensics services bureau and the fiscal administration bureau.

Glasel has a master’s degree in science, emergency management and planning from Lynn University, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

•Rudolph Johnson III, of Charleston, S.C., is currently the assistant chief of police at the Allendale Police Department in South Carolina.

He worked as a narcotics detective at the Berkely County Narcotics Task Force in Moncks Corner, S.C., and was a master deputy sheriff with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

He was also a probation and parole officer in Aiken County, S.C., and worked for the Chesapeake Police Department, Richmond Housing Authority Police Department, Suffolk Police Department in Virginia, and was a deputy with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.

He is working on his master’s degree in organizational leadership, and has a master’s and bachelor’s degree in human services

•Donald Raley began his law enforcement career in 1974 as a deputy sheriff in Alexandria, Va., He was chief of police in Paw Paw, W. V., from 1978 to 1982.

His career changed course and he worked for the Division of Corrections in Maryland, where he was a lieutenant director until 2010.

Raley has a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Virginia College.

•Ronald Saavedra, of Estancia, N.M., also applied for the top cop job in Rio Communities. He is currently a police officer with Albuquerque Public Schools.

His employment history includes being a shift supervisor for Core Civic Corrections in Estancia, a security supervisor for Presbyterian Health Services, a patrol officer for the Estancia Police Department, and he also worked for the Torrance County, Cibola County and McKinley County sheriffs offices, and was an officer in Bosque Farms, Eunice, N.M., Tularosa, N.M., and Milan, N.M.

•Richard Simmons, who is currently a deputy sheriff in Tarrant County, Texas, has been a police officer with the Texas Christian University Police Department, a police chief with Bethel Alaska Police Department, and a lieutenant at the Fort Worth Texas Police Department.

Simmons is a U.S. Marine Corp veteran, and also served on the Weatherford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, Planning/Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Transportation Advisory Board, in Weatherford, Texas.

Simmons has a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership and management from Sam Houston State University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science. He had been working on doctoral work in international development, but does not have a degree.

•Derrick Turner was the chief of police of the Mobile Airport Authority Police Department in Mobile, Ala., from November 2021 to August 2022. He was a lieutenant with the Port of Portland Police Department from July 2019 to January 2022.

He also worked for the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and the Ferris State University Department of Public Safety in Michigan.

Turner has a bachelor’s degree in science criminal justice from Ferris State University.

•Michael Zuber has been the police chief in the city of Harvey, N.D., since September 2022.

He worked for the Chicago Police Department since 1995, as well as with the Elmhurst Police Department in Elmhurst, Ill.

Zuber has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Eastern Illinois University.

While in the process of choosing its first police chief, city staff has been busy getting things ready for that person. Moore said construction of the police station at Rio Communities City Hall is near completion.

“We just need to replace the front entry door with new glass that’s on order,” Moore said. “We could move furniture in this week.”

Moore also said the police vehicle is currently getting outfitted, and will be complete within the next couple of weeks.

“Our goal is to have everything ready when the chief is hired,” Moore said. “I’m calling it a 99.99 percent probability.”

During its first 10 years of incorporation, Rio Communities has contracted with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services.

When Valencia County Sheriff Denise Romero told city officials last year her office would no longer be able to continue the contract after this current fiscal year, beginning in July 2023, Moore and the council began researching how to pay for and form its own police department.

In an effort to fund the new police department, the city council approved a new 3.5 mill tax levy in July to pay for a new police department, with a police chief, two police officers and an evidence technician. The mill levy was expected to bring in an estimated $273,000 per year for the police department.

The city had to rescind the mill levy about a month later because the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration informed the city manager, that per state statute, the city cannot impose a mill levy on residential property owners without imposing the same rate to commercial property owners.

After rescinding the tax, the council decided to decrease the amount of people employed at the police department to a chief and an officer.

The council did indicate last year they were amenable to looking at implementing the mill levy this year for both residential and commercial property owners.

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.