SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police Deputy Chief Pete Kassetas was named Friday to take over as head of the statewide law enforcement agency.
Kassetas is a 20-year veteran of the State Police and replaces Chief Robert Shilling, who is retiring.
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced the appointment, saying Kassetas “has an exceptional understanding of law enforcement techniques, departmental objectives, and community outreach.”
As chief, Kassetas will be paid about $103,000 a year.
Public Safety Secretary Gorden Eden said Capt. Jimmy Glascock and Maj. David Martinez have been promoted to deputy chiefs. Maj. Martinez will oversee criminal investigations and Glasscock will be responsible for uniform operations, which includes officers who patrol New Mexico’s highways.
The governor said the three new appointees “will form a strong team to continue the State Police’s proud tradition of service and public safety.”
Kassetas joined the State Police in 1993 as a patrol officer and worked his way up through the ranks.
The State Police has more than 500 officers, with district offices across New Mexico.
The governor’s office made the announcement on Shilling’s last day as chief. The 42-year-old Shilling has said he was retiring based on “family, health and happiness.” He has served as chief since 2011.
Shilling has recovered from viral encephalitis in late 2010, but the inflammation of the brain left him without a sense of smell or taste.
“Chief Shilling’s determination and ability to overcome a challenging personal illness and serve at the highest level of the State Police is admirable and inspiring,” the governor said in a statement.
Kassetas became deputy chief in 2011. In previous positions with the agency, Kassetas was a major in the uniform bureau, a criminal investigator in Farmington, a sergeant in a regional narcotics bureau and a lieutenant in the investigations bureau.