Rio Arriba Co. Sheriff Rodella's law enforcement certification revoked

Updated: 08/21/2014 5:11 PM | Created: 08/21/2014 4:41 PM
By: Blair Miller, and Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy revoked Rio Arriba Co. Sheriff Tommy Rodella's law enforcement certification Thursday in a letter from NMLEA Director Jack Jones.

The letter says Rodella's certification was revoked because he was indicted on a felony charge.

Read the letter sent to Sheriff Rodella by the NMLEA.

Quintin McShane, Reserve Deputy for the Rio Arriba Co. Sheriff's Department told KOB Rodella had yet to receive the letter, and as of right now, is still running the department.

McShane also clarified that sheriffs do not have to be law enforcement certified to run the department, as sheriff is an elected position.

Rodella and his son were arrested and released by federal officials August 15, stemming from a federal indictment that charged both men with using the sheriff's law enforcement position to allegedly injure, threaten, intimidate and falsely charge Michael Tafoya with a crime earlier this year.

Rodella now has 15 days to contest the suspension in front of the NMLEA Board, and "may present evidence, witnesses and argument as to why [his] license should not be suspended."

The board will issue a decision on the suspension at that meeting, should it happen. The letter also clarified that the "sole purpose of that appearance before the Board is to argue whether or not the Director acted within the scope of the Rule in ordering the suspension…the facts of the case itself are not the present issue."

The next board meeting will be held Thursday, August 28 at 10 a.m. at the Rio Arriba County Administrative Complex in Tierra Amarilla.

Rodella and his son allegedly chased Tafoya in a civilian vehicle, pulled him out of his car and threatened him with a handgun.

Both men are charged with conspiracy against free exercise of civil rights, deprivation of rights and aiding and abetting and falsification of documents. Rodella is also facing a charge of brandishing a firearm.

Rodella and his son each face 10 or more years in federal prison if convicted.

"The FBI wants to make it clear that no one is above the law, regardless of the uniform or badge you wear," FBI spokeswoman Carol Lee said during a press conference August 15. "Those charged with upholding the law will be held accountable. Today's arrest serves notice to those who would abuse their office and violate the public's trust."

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