LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Las Cruces police Chief Patrick Gallagher is stepping down after about a year and a half on the job, sources tell ABC-7.
Gallagher is submitting his resignation to city leaders and plans to retire effective Aug. 1.
His departure comes in the midst of a firestorm of negative attention towards police departments around the country.
Locally, the Las Cruces Police Department is dealing with an officer-involved choke-hold death that resulted in protests and the firing and criminal charging of the officer. A lawsuit is also pending by the family of the victim.
According to city officials, Gallagher has served in law enforcement for more than 30 years. He replaced Jaime Montoya as the LCPD chief.
According to a biography compiled by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Gallagher had worked for 23 years in the New York City Police Department, climbing the ranks from patrol officer to deputy inspector. During that time, he had stints heading the NYPD's internal affairs bureau as well as commanding recovery operations at "Ground Zero" in the wake of the 9/11 terror attack.
Gallagher came to New Mexico in 2009, when he was named police chief of Truth or Consequences. He would hold that post for three years before being tapped to oversee internal affairs for the Santa Fe Police Department. When the Santa Fe chief abruptly stepped down in 2015, Gallagher assumed that role before coming to Las Cruces.