Matthew Vigil, a Río Arriba County Sheriff’s deputy and former State Police officer, has launched a campaign to replace outgoing Taos Sheriff Miguel Romero in 2014.

Vigil joins former magistrate judge Betty Martínez in the race for the county’s top law enforcement position.

In an interview Tuesday (Oct. 8), Vigil touted his 17 years of law enforcement experience in pledging to offer an outsider’s perspective at the sheriff’s office.

“I would like to bring in change and experience,” the Taos native said, noting his career patrolling Northern New Mexico as a state police officer as well as working undercover. Vigil was eventually promoted to the rank of lieutenant in the state police department’s internal affairs office. Vigil said he was then recruited by Río Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella to join his staff in Española.

Vigil’s departure from the state police followed his arrest on the charge of driving while intoxicated in July 2011. The case is scheduled for trial in Ratón on Dec. 2 though Eighth Judicial District Judge John Paternoster will hear a motion to suppress evidence due to what Vigil characterized as police entrapment Oct. 23.

“I have not only been on the prosecuting side but I have also been a defendant and a victim of crime,” the deputy said.

Vigil attributed the incident to poorly trained law enforcement officers and animosity between himself and the Ratón Police Department. He declined to elaborate on the charges due to the pending trial but conceded there were “other little incidents” from throughout his life he would address during his campaign.

Although he works in Río Arriba County, Vigil emphasized Taos is his home and his children are enrolled in local schools. “I just want to give back to the community where I was born and raised,” he said.

Vigil told The Taos News he would increase patrols and prioritize community policing in outlying areas of the county while developing a culture of accountability and responsibility among deputies. The department should have at least two investigators trained in forensics, he added.

Vigil said he would pursue state and federal funding sources currently untapped by the county. “There are a lot of resources out there,” Vigil said, adding that he would hire a grant writer to win funding for various initiatives.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Post a comment

RedStateDave
RedStateDave

The fifth paragraph says all anyone really needs to know about this knucklehead. We need someone with character to run the SO and not someone full of excuses.

Sarah_V
Sarah_V

If he wants to develop a culture of accountability and responsibility, he needs to begin with himself.

Stay dry for 10 years and then get back to us if you still want to run.

Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson

I would rather have a reformed ex-convict running the SO than a drunk.

boopboop
boopboop

We all have made mistakes in life. At least he is honest about his mistakes and accepts responsibility. How about Ms. Greedy (Betty Martinez). She retired to spend time with family and now wants to rule the roost at the SO. Rumor is she is still taking classes to fill in as Magistrate Judge throughout the state, as needed. Come on woman, others would like to be able to serve their time and retire too. Give others a fair chance.

DVfromRDT
DVfromRDT

We need change in elected officials. Betty Gonzales or Betty Martinez or maybe this time it is Betty Martinez-Gonzales. Whatever the it is this time. I have voted for her in the past and when I needed her help of course no help. She ran a few years back and didn’t even finish off her term. Because she choose to retire! Why did you choose to retire again? Now all of sudden she is back at it wanting to get back on the horse and run for Sherriff. I am pretty sure she can’t even hold a gun while standing I went to a friend’s wedding and she couldn’t even stand for the ceremony. I am sorry she has let me down. Martínez-Gonzales occasionally serves as a pro-tem magistrate, according to her announcement. She is getting her retirement pension and getting paid for pro-team magistrate. And no I am sure she isn’t the first retiree in history, returning to the work force and won’t be the last. Taos News has given us the opportunity to voice are opinion so I am giving mine. Everyone has a past and no one is perfect.

Sarah_V
Sarah_V

boopboop, how exactly has he accepted responsibility? When he was popped, he refused the breathalyzer and demanded a blood test. He blames his DUI on Raton police "entrapment". Is he going to allege they put the keys in his hand and demanded that he drive drunk?. The DA wouldn't be moving forward if his blood test didn't show he was over the legal limit. So do we really need a drunk who blames everyone else but himself for his own mistakes as Sheriff?

RedStateDave
RedStateDave

@BoopBoop - he accepts responsiblity? I laughed out loud when I read that. He has done everything BUT accept responsibility. Instead he's blamed the entire situation on someone else. And once more folks start poking around his past, more things are going to come up. This guy is the last person we need for sheriff.

alhucema
alhucema

This guys sounds OK. Its good he's been a stater. Thy are generally trained pretty well in the law. I'd like to see his legal issues be straightened out right before he gets to run for sheriff tho. See how it turns out, see how he handles it.

PB
PB

Wow just what we don't need. Lets hire a Sheriff that doesn't break laws and drive around drunk.