A recently hired Portales police officer had been suspended for texting sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl while an officer in Lovington.
Portales Officer Daniel Gonzalez admitted to the behavior at a July hearing before the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. The agency governs the licensing of police officers across New Mexico.
Gonzalez said he exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 17-year-old girl, according to minutes from the meeting. The NMLEA suspended his license for 180 days, placed Gonzalez on one-year probation and ordered him to complete an ethics class.
Portales Police Chief Doug Jones declined comment on Gonzalez, who was hired earlier this year. Jones said he hires police personnel based on background checks as well as recommendations from previous law enforcement agencies.
Gonzalez is the third Portales police officer in recent months to face scrutiny on sex-related issues.
Former Portales school resource officer Victor Castillo is awaiting trial on multiple felonies, accused of maintaining a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl he met at school.
Portales Officer Mikel Aguilar resigned last August shortly after it was disclosed he was hired by former Portales Police Chief Jeff Gill despite facing discipline from the NMLEA board for having sex on duty and in his squad car as a Roswell police officer.
According to the NMLEA meeting minutes of the Gonzalez hearing:
• In February 2012, the Lovington Police Department received a harassment complaint against Gonzalez from a 17-year-old female.
• The female said she became acquainted with Gonzalez when he stopped her for speeding, asking her for her phone number and a hug.
• After a second traffic stop by Gonzalez, the female said she began to text message Gonzalez.
• Gonzalez would regularly visit the female’s place of employment and Gonzalez admitted to exchanging sexually explicit text messages with the female.
“Yes, I made a bad judgment call,” Gonzalez told the board, according to the minutes. “And during the internal investigations by both the New Mexico State Police and Lovington Police Department, I did not lie.”
Gonzalez told the board the new chief of the Lovington Police Department told him he could be friendly to people but cannot be friends with people. Gonzalez expressed he learned that lesson through his experience.
“I understand that as a police officer we are held to a high standard of ethics and a code,” Gonzalez told the board. “And I did fall off the path and violate that code.”
Jones said Gonzalez is currently on military duty and unavailable for comment.