New Mexico Fire Chief Charged With Impersonating a Police Officer

Embattled Valencia County Fire Chief Stephen Gonzales is facing criminal charges of impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment for using his emergency lights to stop a motorist earlier this month.

Chief Gonzales, who was disciplined earlier this year over some racy photos that surfaced from FDIC, stopped a motorist he claims was driving erratically on I-25 in Los Lunas June 4, 2016.

Los Lunas police have charged Chief Gonzales with one misdemeanor count of impersonating an officer and a felony count of false imprisonment. Chief Gonzales is on paid administrative leave. He recently served a suspension over the FDIC incident that involved him posing with scantily clad exotic dancers in Indianapolis while in uniform.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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