ESPANOLA, NM (KRQE) – The Rio Arriba County Sheriff was indicted last week for misusing his power. Now, county commissioners say his undersheriff confronted them after a meeting, saying they were the ones under investigation.
The first line sums it up. “Your tenure as Sheriff has been marked by continuous controversy from the beginning.”
Rio Arriba County Commissioners Barney Trujillo, Alfredo Montoya and Danny Garcia sent a letter to Sheriff Tommy Rodella, asking him to step down.
They say the Sheriff’s bad behavior has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits and caused the breakdown of trust between the public and the sheriff’s office.
They list 11 reasons why Rodella should go, calling him out on allegations he fixed traffic tickets, to claims he seized and held vehicles without a warrant
Commissioners go into detail about the Sheriff’s recent indictment. The Feds says Rodella was off-duty when he roughed up a driver and lied about it in reports.
Commissioners say it’s put every criminal case the sheriff’s office prosecutes in jeopardy due to Rodella’s “lack of credibility and integrity” and they’re asking him to resign.
Commissioners held a special meeting, Thursday, where they signed off on this letter. Yet, they say when the meeting was over, things got heated again.
They say the undersheriff told commissioners they were under investigation and needed to make themselves available for questioning.
They claim he wouldn’t give them more information saying, “you don’t need to know.”
The county attorney claims the Sheriff is now retaliating against them and harassing them.
Commissioners say they want Rodella to resign by August 26th or they’ll ask higher authorities to remove him. They say they’ll contact the Feds, the Governor’s office, the Attorney General and the DA because, in an elected position, commissioners can’t force him out.
Rodella’s law enforcement license has been suspended.