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Hobbs police chief McCall to retire

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Earlier in his career with the Hobbs Police Department Chris McCall was in charge of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division.

He had the unfortunate responsibility of working a tough case, but had the good fortune of doing so with Hobbs Fire Chief Manny Gomez. The experience is something Gomez always remembers when he thinks of McCall.

“I remember just how Chris’ professionalism stood out to me,” said Gomez, the current acting Hobbs city manager. “His command and control of the investigation portion was great to see. The case wasn’t a good situation, but the collaboration and communication between the fire department, criminal investigations and the police department, I learned Chris was approachable and good at heart.”

McCall, the current Hobbs chief of police announced his retirement following a 20-year career. His last day is Feb. 28.

“The experiences I have had and the people I have met along the way have all had an impact on me as a person,” McCall said. “I appreciate all the opportunities I have had as a result of my career with HPD. It’s been a great pleasure to serve the citizens of Hobbs for 20 years and a great honor to serve with the high caliber of men and women I have had the pleasure to work beside along the way.”

As an advocate of Hobbs being a great place to live, work, and play, McCall and his wife of 24 years, Kelli McCall, raised their family in this community and called it home for 20 years.

McCall received his Associate’s Degree in Management from Eastern New Mexico University, enrolled in the Police Academy at South Plains College, and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University.

As a rookie, McCall started with the Texas Tech University Police Department in 1997. He joined the Hobbs Police Department as a patrolman, moved to field training officer, sergeant and then lieutenant. He served as deputy chief from 2010-2013 and interim police chief before his promotion to chief of police. McCall recalled some experiences and relationships throughout his career in police work:

“The time I spent on the Street Crimes Unit were some of the most interesting and enjoyable in my career as far as police work. I worked with outstanding partners on that team, including now Deputy Chief Brian Dunlap, Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton, and a former Hobbs Police Officer Reid Gunter. We worked hard to make a positive impact in our community primarily through a narcotics and violent crime focus. I think by far though, my most fulfilling experiences occurred during my time as chief of police. The men and women who I worked with on a daily basis, both inside and outside of the department were extremely impactful and all helped me grow professionally and personally.”

During his tenure, McCall volunteered and served with many nonprofits and boards, including: the Lea County Communications Authority Board, Community Drug Coalition of Lea County, Executive Board for the New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police (from 2014-present as the president), Crime Stoppers Board, Hobbs Rotary Club, Red Cross Local Hero’s Selection Committee Member, Lea County Drug Task Force Board, and many others throughout the county and state.

He was also recognized several times and completed many reputable programs, including Officer of the Year in 2003, Jim Allison Exemplary Leadership Award in 2016, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Command School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, West Point Leadership Program, Hobbs Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute, Leadership NM Local Government and Core Leadership Programs and Board, and the 241st Session of the FBI National Academy. He was also appointed by Governor Martinez to represent Municipal Chiefs of Police on the Law Enforcement Academy Board from 2013-2018.

The Community Relations Team was one endeavor which McCall took seriously and was ahead of the curve compared to other police departments. He recognized the rising tensions between police forces and citizens across the nation and the need for action to build and encourage relationships with HPD officers and local citizens. With the mission of bringing the police department and community together, the Community Relations Team held monthly events open and free to the public, attended community events and hosted booths, and been very active on social media on every subject from updating a press release about a wanted suspect to posting about the Hobbs Police Department’s “Elves on the Shelf.” They are a group of police officers committed to getting to know citizens on a more personal level and helping citizens get to know the officers and department as well.

“He will be sorely missed,” Gomez said. “Chief McCall is overall an excellent example of a police chief and the type of individual who has interacted well with his co-workers and with the community. I want to thank the chief for all he has accomplished for our community and our police department since becoming Hobbs’ top law enforcement official.”

Hobbs Mayor Sam D. Cobb said McCall served the Hobbs community with distinction during a period of rapid growth in the community.

“That makes the job chief of police even more challenging than it normally is,” Cobb said. “He has implemented several innovative programs, such as the Eagle IC, (city-wide camera operation) that has made our schools and our public areas much safer for our citizens. It has been an honor to have had the opportunity to have served as mayor during his tenure as chief of police. I wish him, Kelli, and their family nothing but the best as they pursue new opportunities.”

McCall shared advice for the next Hobbs Police chief of police.

“This is a great department full of professionals who are some of the best at what they do,” he said. “Continue to trust in them to do their part and the community’s safety will be in great hands.”

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