Former Rio Rancho Police officer files whistle-blower lawsuit

Rio Rancho police car

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A now-former Rio Rancho Police officer said he was fired days ago for “performance issues,” but he believes the real reason is because he spoke up about abuse of power within the department.

“It happened so suddenly that I’m just taking it in at this point and kind of wrap my head around what my next steps are,” said former Deputy Chief Gary Wiseman.

Wiseman spent the last three years as the Deputy Chief of the Rio Rancho Police Department. However, just days ago, that all changed.

“On Thursday, I was released by the city of Rio Rancho, for really vague and unknown reasons in regards to my performance,” he said.

He said in the past few years, there were some issues within the department brought to his attention by fellow officers. Those issues include abuse of authority — but what kind of abuse of power exactly, he and his lawyer don’t want to reveal.

Wiseman ended up presenting those problems to the city.

“I tried to do the right thing by the officers in Rio Rancho, and that was the basis in which those complaints they were not addressed, they were ignored which led to my termination,” he said.

Now, Wiseman has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the city and the police department.

He believes that because he vocalized what he thought was wrong, he was passed over for the Chief of Police job, then fired. Wiseman said the reasoning he was given for being let go, performance issues.

“I would say this is totally unfair and unjustified. There’s not a single factual basis for the allegations that they set forth this last week,” he said.

After more than two decades of a fulfilling career with Rio Rancho Police, Wiseman said he didn’t want to — and can’t believe — he’s going out like this.

“I’m coming to terms with it, and it’s not how I wanted to end my career, but I can look back and be proud of what I accomplished as an officer,” he said.

The City of Rio Rancho and Rio Rancho Police Department told us they do not comment on pending lawsuits.

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