New sheriff appointed for De Baca County

CNJ staff

Mike Chavez, Fort Sumner’s chief of police, will be sworn in as sheriff of De Baca County on Dec. 30, De Baca County Commissioner Powhatan Carter III said Monday.

De Baca County citizens voted to recall former Sheriff Gary Graves on Nov. 10 after a citizens group petitioned to remove him from office.

Graves was accused of acts of malfeasance while in office, including misappropriating funds, mistreating prisoners and sexual harassment. Graves denied the allegations.

Monday’s decision comes after county commissioners accepted and reviewed applications for one month, De Baca County Commissioner Joe Steele said.

Steele said Chavez was the best man for the job, out of three Fort Sumner men that applied for the position.

“We had some good people. He (Chavez) had the most experience. He had more police background. I think we had good candidates, but we didn’t have many applicants,” Steele said.

Sheriff’s property, including a vehicle and office space, will be handed over to Chavez after he is sworn in, Carter said.

The Dec. 30 swearing-in date was chosen by county commissioners because it marks the end of the village pay cycle and the beginning of the county pay cycle, Steele said.

Chavez will serve as sheriff until the next general election in November, Carter said.