Gov. Susana Martinez announced Wednesday that she has appointed Keith (“K.C.”) Rogers of Dexter to Division I of the Chaves County Magistrate Court. He will fill the vacancy created by Eugene M. De Los Santos’ retirement on May 31.
“Mr. Rogers’ experience will make him an excellent magistrate judge. I am confident Mr. Rogers will fairly and impartially uphold the law for the people of Chaves County,” Martinez said.
“I’m excited,” Rogers said. “It’s a new chapter in my life, yet it is something where I can still make a difference.”
Rogers is currently a hearings officer for the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy where he hears cases of misconduct of law enforcement officers throughout the state and determines if they are founded or unfounded, then reports his findings to the Academy Board.
Rogers is also the president and owner of ASPEN of America Inc. He founded the company, which provides educational programs for courts and other non-governmental groups, in 2001.
He is proud of their alternative sentencing program which uses education to combat crime. In Roswell, Rogers has been involved in the DWI program and community strategy board. “The average citizen who gets in trouble often doesn’t understand the law. This is what we in law enforcement see … that crime results from the behaviors people have,” said Rogers.
He will bring his experience with ASPEN to the office. “I have no trouble putting people in jail, but I also believe in finding alternative and less-expensive solutions to incarceration,” said Rogers.
Although he has relinquished his position and ownership of ASPEN, Rogers said the program would continue under the offices of Kevin Boyd. He admitted it was difficult to leave. “We did good services, but it would be a conflict of interest for me to keep it.”
Rogers spent 21 years with the New Mexico State Police. He joined when he was 19. After graduating from the academy, he worked as a uniform patrol officer. In 1982, he moved to Roswell and became part of the NMSP Narcotics Investigations where he stayed for 16 years. “I was promoted to supervisor of narcotics and moved to Las Cruces for six months.”
Rogers said he got to know Martinez while she was district attorney in Las Cruces and he was supervisor of narcotics. “I transferred back to Roswell as supervisor of the Criminal Investigation Division, so I could be with my family.”
Rogers will not start his new job for another 30 days. He plans to use this lead time to read and study the state laws in order to prepare for his new post. After he starts, Rogers will go through a training program. “I’ll be going to school for magistrate judges and be mentored by other area judges.”
Rogers is undaunted by the prospect of late night calls to sign warrants. “I’m a state police officer. I’ve been getting midnight calls all my life.”
He added his thanks to all the people who supported him during the process of selection. To the people of Chaves County, Rogers said: “I’ll do everything I can to be as good a magistrate as I can be.”