Cops & Courts

Four new employees of the Clovis Police Department have completed their required academy training and will soon begin work with the department.
Two dispatchers, Nancy Duran and Geretta Richards, graduated Thursday from New Mexico’s three-week dispatch school program; Richards was the class valedictorian, and both can begin their work immediately.
On Dec. 12, police officers Joseph Fiola and Roland Kroeger graduated from the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy after 22 weeks of training.
Fiola and Kroeger are now certified officers but still have 14 weeks of field training with the Clovis Police Department before they can go on patrol alone.
Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey said the new staff members will help fill the department’s shortages but don’t solve the ongoing lack of staff.
“I still have about seven vacancies for patrol; I think we still need to hire two dispatchers,” Carey said. “We’re glad to have them on board and we’re looking to hire some more.”
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Clovis police report that a car-train crash on Dec. 13 was alcohol-related and the driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated, fifth offense.
According to a report released Wednesday, David C. Esparza, 49, was facing north on Norris Avenue at the railroad tracks stopped for a train about 10:30 p.m. when an westbound train cleared the intersection. Witnesses said after the westbound train cleared the intersection, Esparza drove around another car that was stopped in front of him and went around the crossing gates in front of another train going eastbound. Esparza’s vehicle was struck by the train, spun upside down, and landed on its roof near the tracks.
Police found multiple containers of alcohol at the scene and noted that the driver had a strong smell of alcohol. Police obtained a blood sample at the scene for later testing.
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The Texico Police Department has announced that it will add more checkpoints and saturation patrols looking for those driving while intoxicated during the holidays.
Other priorities for the checkpoints and saturation patrols include making sure that adults are wearing their seatbelts and that children are in child restraint devices or seatbelts, depending on their ages.
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The case of Warren Nuckols Jr., the owner of the Quick Stop convenience store on the corner of 13th and Thornton who has been accused of selling tobacco to minors, has been transferred from Curry County Magistrate Court to Curry County District Court.
Nuckols’ jury trial had been scheduled Dec. 5 in Curry County Magistrate Court. According to court records, Nuckols will now be arraigned, file a plea, and have initial disposition of the case in District Court on Jan 14 at 4 p.m.
For nearly six months, Nuckols has been fighting charges filed in connection with a June 11 tobacco sting operation conducted by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. Nuckols’ case had already been rescheduled a number of times before this month’s transfer to District Court.

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ staff writer Darrell Todd Maurina. He can be contacted at 763-6991 or:
darrell_maurina@link.freedom.com