Albuquerque Police Chief Gilbert Gallegos announced his retirement this week amid allegations of mismanagement and theft in the department’s evidence room. Gallegos, 61, a law enforcer for 40 years, was widely known in American criminal justice circles as former national president of the Fraternal Order of Police. In an interview, Gallegos declined to tell the Albuquerque Tribune why he was retiring. “It was just my time,” he said.
He had retired in 1988 but was picked as chief in 2001 by Mayor Martin Chavez after six years with the FOP. Many officers regarded Gallegos as a “father figure.” But he invited controversy with his staunch defense of officers, arguing that a civilian board review was unnecessary and clashing repeatedly with the city’s independent review officer, overturning rulings against officers for improper conduct. In recent weeks, Gallegos has had to defend practices in the department’s evidence room, saying he was working to correct problems he inherited. However, some alleged Gallegos did not react to warnings of theft and mismanagement.