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Updated at 8:15am — Ex-Curry Co. Sheriff Named Tucumcari Chief

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Roger Hatcher will replace Daniel Lopez, who was on the job four months.

Former Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher has been named Tucumcari's new police chief, replacing former State Police captain Daniel Lopez, who is leaving the chief's job this Thursday after being on the job four months, the Quay County Sun reported.

Lopez has accepted another law enforcement job but has declined to say where, the Sun reported.

Hatcher, who was offered the job last Thursday on his 51st birthday, will begin work Tuesday, the paper said.

"I wanted to get there before Daniel left," Hatcher told the Sun. "I feel it's a great opportunity … It's a young department, and it's an opportunity to help that department grow."

Hatcher was a 15-year veteran of the Curry County Sheriff's Office who stepped down as sheriff in December 2006 because of term limits, the Sun reported.

Hatcher, who will earn $53,000 a year as Tucumcari police chief, also has worked as a private contractor and has worked on a number of cases as a licensed private investigator, the paper said.

10:25am 2/7/08 — Tucumcari Police Chief Quits: Retired State Police captain joined force last October, leaving for better pay.

Tucumcari Police Chief Daniel Lopez, who retired as a captain with the New Mexico State Police and was just sworn in as chief on Jan. 1, has resigned effective Feb. 14 for the "law enforcement job of a lifetime," City Manager John Sutherland told the Quay County Sun this week.

Sutherland wouldn't say where Lopez was going but said it would be at a higher rate of pay, the Sun reported.

Lopez joined the Tucumcari Police Department Oct. 1, after retiring from the State Police in September, but as a volunteer law enforcement consultant, according to the Sun.

He was unable to be sworn in as chief of police in October because of a 90-day separation requirement by the Public Employees Retirement Association, the paper said.

Sutherland told the Sun that Lopez has added staff and made improvements in his four months with the department.

Lopez, who was sworn in as chief on Jan. 1, was making an annual salary of $53,000, the Sun reported.