From left, Matthew Stone, of the District Attorney’s office; and Officer Julian Torrez, of the New Mexico State Police, during the Honor the Badge ceremony, Wednesday night. Ilissa Gilmore Photo
Chaves County Character Counts! presented plaques Wednesday to two lawmen who exemplify “building and upholding the public trust” during the annual Honor the Badge ceremony held at the Chaves County Administrative Center.
The colleagues of Officer Julian Torrez of the New Mexico State Police, District 3, Roswell and Matthew Stone of the District Attorney’s Office acknowledged them as public servants who exhibit the six pillars of character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, [auth] caring and citizenship) in their professional and personal lives.
Torrez, a Roswell native, has served in the New Mexico State Police for 15 years. In her nomination letter to the Character Counts! Committee, his supervisor, Capt. Dina Orozco, lauded Torrez for his dependability, selflessness and mentoring of younger officers.
“Officer Torrez has rendered faithful, conscientious and valuable service to the New Mexico State Police and to the citizens of this state,” she wrote.
Torrez studied the plaque in his hands as his merits reflected back at him. While thankful for it, he said his real reward is serving the community. “We deal with a lot of bad people,” he said. “But when you can help someone, it’s worth it.”
Stone was also humble about his award; his supervisor, Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Murphy, joked that he might start blushing. However, the only show of emotion on his face was a grateful smile.
“During his time with the Chaves County District Attorney’s Office, I have come to rely on Matt for his considerate and level-headed perspective on criminal cases and legal issues,” Murphy said in his nomination letter. He also praised Stone for his “excellent legal mind,” common sense, and ability to treat people — good and bad — well.
For Stone, the honor was as if his mentor, who received the award last year, had passed the torch. “I view it as I’m living up to the things he taught me,” he said. “So, it means a lot to me.”
Other years have seen more awardees, but the smaller number of recipients this year is not unusual, said Lt. Britt Snyder of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.
“We hold this award in very high esteem,” he said. “We don’t give them for the sake of giving them.”