Lt. David Maggio, a 20-year veteran of the Taos Police Department, was named "acting police chief" following Randall Parmer's final day on the job Friday (April 7).
A press release from Town Manager Rick Bellis reminded the community that Parmer had been called back to Florida to deal with "important personal family issues" and acknowledged the former chief for his contributions to the department, despite his relatively short run at its helm.
Parmer had previously served for 31 years with the Jacksonville (Florida) Sheriff's Office and was appointed head of the Taos Police Department nearly one year ago (April 21). He was selected from a pool of 38 candidates considered to replace David Weaver, who retired from the post in 2016.
As second in command in the department, Maggio has filled in as police chief before - when Parmer transitioned into the job last year - and again following Parmer's departure this week, in addition to several other times throughout his career, Maggio said this week.
He is originally from Dubuque, Iowa, and has trained with the FBI National Academy and studied criminal justice at the University of Virginia. Maggio said he was one of just two officers from New Mexico who were invited to the FBI training program, where he achieved the "yellow brick award" for completing a rigorous physical aptitude assessment. The longtime police lieutenant is expected to be among the candidates who will apply for the full-time job.
Maggio began his career at the Cathedral City, California Police Department in the late 1980s, where he worked as a beat cop and worked a private security gig on the side. He came to Taos to join the force in the 1990s and quickly ascended the ranks to become second in command.
During an interview this week, Maggio confirmed a strong interest in taking on the full-time role, stating that his years of experience within the department and strong connections to local residents and other law enforcement agencies provide him with an edge that his competition is unlikely to share.
Whoever steps into the job as chief will have more trained law enforcement officers than the department had a year ago.
While head of the Taos Police Department, Parmer oversaw a staffing project that partly addressed what Bellis described in a press release as a "critical manpower shortage" within the department. Parmer himself said last fall that vacancies in approximately six positions meant that no more than two officers could be on duty for each shift. As of the end of March, Parmer reported that four of the six positions had been filled.
"We are pleased to announce that we are just a few slots short of reaching our full duty roster goal," a press release from the Taos Police Department said, "and more pleased to announce that an increasing proportion of our growing force is now being made up by a group of incredibly talented and dedicated young men and women born, educated and raised right here in Taos, with solid family roots to this community."
Bellis said in the press release that he and other town officials will consult police department command staff on "future needs of the department," which will likely serve as important criteria as the manager, town council members and Mayor Dan Barrone assess candidates for the full-time position over the next 45-90 days.
The press release states that all qualified candidates are welcome to apply for the open position. Public forums will be held at a later date, allowing Taos residents to meet candidates and hear what improvements they intend to bring to the department.