ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Governor Susana Martinez has named Greg Fouratt, a former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico and current federal prosecutor, to lead the state Department of Public Safety.
Fouratt, 48, is the man who locked up former state Senate Pro Tem Manny Aragon for his role in skimming more than $4 million off the Bernalillo County Metro courthouse construction project. He is also the man who famously issued a letter in the fall of 2009 announcing that then-Gov. Bill Richardson and two top aides would not be indicted in a corruption and alleged pay-to-play case, but that they had not been “exonerated.”
At DPS, Fouratt replaces Gorden Eden, who was named earlier this month as the new chief of the troubled Albuquerque Police Department.
Under the DPS umbrella are: State Police, Motor Transportation Police, the state law enforcement academy — which trains many of the state’s police officers — the state crime lab and the Special Investigations Division, which investigates liquor- and tobacco-law violations.
And State Police officers have been involved in a string of shootings since the late summer, including one incident in which an officer opened fire on a minivan full of children and their mother near Taos.
Fouratt’s new position is a cabinet-level post.
Fouratt, who, like Martinez, is a Republican, grew up in Roswell and graduated from high school there. He went on to graduate from New Mexico State University, then spent six years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force.
He received his law degree from Texas Tech School of Law.
Before he went to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Las Cruces, Fouratt did a stint as a clerk for U.S. District Judge William Browning in Tucson.
In January 2008, he was tapped to be U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, replacing interim U.S. Attorney Larry Gomez.
He served in that position until 2010, when President Barack Obama replaced him with Kenneth Gonzales. Fouratt has continued to work as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Albuquerque, prosecuting white collar and other types of crimes.
Notably, Fouratt was one of the prosecutors in the case against then-Albuquerque Police Department officer Brad Ahrensfield, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in 2011 and sentenced to six months in prison.
In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, Martinez said: “Greg Fouratt is an effective leader with tremendous legal, law enforcement and military experience. His talents and skills will serve New Mexico well in our continuing efforts to keep our families and communities safe. I am extremely proud to have Greg continue his service to New Mexicans, this time as a member of my state cabinet.”
The release also included a statement from Fouratt: “I am honored and humbled to have Governor Martinez’s support and confidence in this new role. I am looking forward to working with the Governor and our state’s dedicated public safety employees. New Mexico is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family, and I am grateful for this opportunity to continue working to make it even better.”
KRQE News 13 will have reports on Fouratt’s appointment in our later broadcasts.