Letter to the Editor: Perhaps it’s Time for an External Investigation of Los Alamos Police Department

By LORI ZIRPEL
Los Alamos

With respect to the recent letter “Should Los Alamos Police Unionize?” (Los Alamos Daily Post Aug. 30, 2013) there are a lot of concerns raised.

 
However when I looked at the salaries of the commanders listed, there seems to be an error. The actual salaries were already at $78,808 in 2012 as listed by the Rio Grande Foundation: (http://www.riograndefoundation.org) and would now apparently be 10 percent or more above that number or about $86K per commander.
 
I heard a rumor around town that one or more of the promoted commanders did not meet the minimum qualifications to hold the position. How then were they chosen? Favoritism? Seems like an exceptional salary for someone who “rarely shows up for work.”
Another concern is that in all the articles I’ve read about the process of choosing a new chief, why is there no mention of an employee of the police department on the search committee? Seems like a very odd way to choose a new chief, with no current officer input. 
 
I wonder what is going on with the Los Alamos Police Department with so much negative information and one wonders what else is going on that has not been reported publicly. Issues had better be addressed before all the qualified officers leave for much better pay and working conditions. I understand the average pay that a patrol officer makes in Los Alamos (according to what was reported at last year’s salary concerns) is about 76 percent of the State average, and one wonders if this number is skewed by a few select officers’ much higher pay.
The legacy Chief (Wayne) Torpy has left certainly does not seem that it should have received all the glowing accolades. I cannot believe the number of lawsuits, firings, and controversy that we have heard about, perhaps it is time for an external investigation.
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