SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – A Santa Fe police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested Sunday evening on charges of battery on a household member and interfering with communications.
Jon Lopez, 30, who lives in Santa Fe, made arrangements with Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies to meet at the Santa Fe police headquarters at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday where he was arrested and later booked into jail.
The arrest comes just two days after the initiation of a “zero tolerance” policy at the Santa Fe Police Department that recommends termination on any first offense related to conviction for such a crime. The policy was enacted after members of the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families and Solace Crisis Treatment Center contacted the police chief asking for clear accountability in the police department with regard to cases involving domestic violence, sexual offenses and other specified types of misconduct.
Deputies responded to a domestic dispute call at about 6:12 p.m. Sunday in which Lopez’s wife reported that a verbal altercation had turned physical. Sheriff Robert Garcia said deputies saw that “she had marks on her arms consistent with bruising and a scratch.”
Garcia said Lopez took his wife’s cell phone before leaving the house. Lopez, according to a news release by Santa Fe police, had been an officer for three years and was assigned to the patrol division.
Lopez eventually called his house off Muscat Drive near N.M. 14 while deputies were interviewing his wife. Lopez agreed to meet with the deputies to meet at Santa Fe police headquarters. Garcia said Lopez was off duty during the incident.
Police Chief Ray Rael was notified of the arrest late Sunday night and said he did not have all of the details of the arrest Monday morning.
Rael said in an interview last week that the new policy should bolster the public’s trust in his department because prior to the zero tolerance policy, “punishment varied from written reprimands to suspensions.”
Rael said there will be two aspects to investigations into Lopez’s alleged actions — a criminal investigation and an internal department investigation.
“We will initiate out internal affairs investigation immediately and if the evidence shows that there is probable cause that he did commit this crime, the appropriate action will be taken,” Rael said.
He said the internal investigation will not rely on the criminal investigation and that action within the department can be taken before the criminal case is heard.
According to the Santa Fe County jail website, Lopez was booked at about 9:06 p.m. and was being held without bond.