Published August 30, 2011
A New Mexico state trooper was placed on administrative leave with pay after surveillance photos appear to show the uniformed trooper engaging in sex with a woman on a car in broad daylight.
The photos did not contain a date stamp, but the sheriff's office said they were taken two weeks ago from a camera used to record graffiti vandals at an entrance to the spacial Santa Fe Ranch.
The images appear to show the trooper propped on top of the woman as she lay on a car. Her jeans were pulled down and hung off an ankle. The trooper appears to be looking to the side, as though he's keeping an eye out for passers-by.
Tim Johnson, a spokesman from state police, confirmed that the pictures were of a trooper, but would not disclose his name. The internal investigation is completed, and the trooper is currently on administrative leave with pay, he said.
"We want to give him his due process to appeal any decision we may have come up with," Johnson said.
The ranch sits just outside of town on I-25 headed toward Albuquerque. The camera was intended to catch the occasional youngster who feels the overwhelming need to write graffiti at the desolate location.
An employee who views surveillance images provided the pictures to the sheriff’s office, who in turn handed them over to state police. State police told KOB.com that they need more time to gather information, calling it a personal matter.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t one of my guys,” Santa Fe Sheriff Robert A. Garcia told FoxNews.com. “This is a real embarrassment.”
Garcia said the trooper does not face legal action because even though there may be evidence of a lack of judgment, an actual crime was not committed.
“There was nobody in the area at the time,” he said. “But if it were one of my guys, there’d be serious disciplinary actions.”
Some nearby residents have expressed concern over the situation.
"It's an inappropriate use of time," Cate Campbell, of Albuquerque, told KOB.com.
Kristine Mihelcic, a spokeswoman from the county, said the agencies involved followed the correct protocol and promptly delivered the pictures to the sheriff’s office.
Once handed to authorities, the head of the Administrative Services asked that the pictures be deleted on the county’s laptop so they’re not widely distributed within the county, she said.