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TV station says troubled New Mexico chief once charged with calling in a bomb threat

NM Valencia County Steven Gonzales 3

Watch KOAT-TV coverage

Is anyone surprised that there is more bad news to learn about Valencia County (New Mexico) Fire Chief Steven Gonzales?

Chief Gonzales is currently on administrative leave after police charged him with impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment for performing a traffic stop. In April Gonzales and two of his deputy chiefs found trouble during a lunch at FDIC in Indianapolis. Pictures surfaced of the three in uniform hanging with some scantily clad women. All three were suspended but there was a call for Gonzales to resign — something he did not do.

Now, KOAT-TV is reporting that Gonzales had a previous arrest where he was charged with making a bomb threat.

Nancy Laflin, KOAT-TV:

Target 7 obtained court records out of Valencia County that show a decade before Steven Gonzales became fire chief he was charged with making a bomb scare.

The documents show in 2003 he was charged with falsely and maliciously claiming an explosion would happen.

However, Gonzales never stood trial because records show he took part in a pre-prosecution diversion program and the case was dismissed. 

County staffers said in Gonzales was hired in 2007 as a code enforcement officer. The following year, he became a firefighter and EMT. In 2012 he became interim fire chief and got the permanent position two months later.

KRQE-TV:

According to a criminal compliant, Gonzales told police he “didn’t act out of line. Honestly this guy was being a jerk,” and that he was “justified for doing what he did” because it was “in the best interest of the public.”

On Wednesday, the police chief said he doesn’t know what Gonzales was thinking.

“Traffic stops are dangerous, not only for police officers but for the motorists and on the interstate it’s especially dangerous because of the speeds, and so our officers are trained in how to make traffic stops,” he said.

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