New Roswell interim police chief talks priorities, experience

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ROSWELL, N.M. – Changes are on the horizon for the Roswell Police Department, after more than a decade on the job, long-time police chief Phil Smith is retiring. 

The Mayor of Roswell appointed a new interim chief, Joe Smith.

“I don’t know that it was a goal in the beginning, but definitely when I came back it was something that I had hoped for. The last couple of years it was something I had aspired to do,” said Smith.  

Although new to the position, Smith is no stranger to Roswell with 29 years of experience at RPD under his belt. 

Mayor Tim Jennings appointed him to the position last week.

“There has been a lot of support since the mayor nominated me or appointed me to the interim police chief,” said Smith.  

Smith says his background serving in the National Guard and decades of experience with the police department, prepared him for this appointment. 

“Made my way through the ranks, up to captain. I’ve supervised every division within the department, so I feel like I have a very good working relationship within the community,” Smith said. 

The department says under the previous chief, RPD was able to get back to a full staff, reduce crime by 53%, and increase salaries – things Smith plans to keep building on.

“We do have a lot of good things going on in the Roswell Police Department, so I don’t feel like right now there is a great need to make any changes. We will be handling business and taking care of whatever need arises,” said Smith.