Former BCSO deputy caught watching porn at work, now Valencia Co. undersheriff

He got caught looking at hours of porn while on duty with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Now, Mark Kmatz is the undersheriff in another county, raising questions about how his misconduct was handled.

Kmatz was hired by BCSO in 1997 and was the face of the department for many years.  However, in 2015, BCSO said Kmatz was caught on a Bernalillo County owned computer looking at porn sites for approximately 105 hours while on duty.

BCSO Undersheriff Rudy Mora filed a misconduct report stating Deputy Kmatz signed his time card indicating full compensation for time worked while committing the policy violations, meaning he was committing time fraud.

Kmatz resigned in 2015 as BCSO moved to fire him. Four years later, he’s now the undersheriff in Valencia County.  

Recently elected Sheriff Denise Vigil said in a statement she made Kmatz undersheriff because of his 20 years of experience. She went on to say she spoke with him about the allegations before hiring him, and based on what he told her and what she grew to know about him, Vigil says she felt “comfortable and confident” in Kmatz.  

After his misconduct report was filed with the Law Enforcement Academy in 2016, Kmatz agreed to a settlement with the LEA board, suspending his law enforcement certification for five months for the time card fraud. 

However, in a lawsuit filed a year later,  Kmatz claims although he did view nude photos, he was doing research on a specific group of people with distinct tattoos and piercings.

A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office said the allegations of time card fraud were never referred to their offices to pursue charges.     

The Attorney General’s Office also did not receive a referral from BCSO; Hector Balderas released the following statement: 

“Law enforcement employers have the duty to report misconduct and violations of law to the LEA Board for disciplinary review. My office has not received a referral in this case.”

KRQE News 13 asked BCSO why the fraud allegations were not referred to the DA’s Office, but a spokesperson declined to comment.

Below is the full response from Sheriff Denise Vigil: 

How long has Under Sheriff Kmatz worked for the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office?

 He started working here June 2016

Why did you choose to bring him on as your undersheriff once you became sheriff? 

 I knew he had an extensive background in many areas of Law Enforcement such as 20 yrs of experience, he has been a Field Training Officer, a Field Training Officer Sergeant, a domestic violence instructor, SWAT, Detective, a Detective Sergeant where he investigated Homicides, Violent Crimes, he was over the Gang Unit as well as white collar crimes.  This type of person is hard to find, and I believe his past experience is an asset to this agency. Mostly, I noticed many within our agency had nothing but good things to say about him, and how his experience would benefit us.  I personally did not know him very well, but paid close attention to his work and how he handled himself and he was always so professional and even toned.  If anyone needed assistance he would do what he could to help.  Knowing he had come to a much smaller agency he came and worked right along others with much less time than he had in Law Enforcement  and never once did he make anyone feel like he was superior to them.  And to this day, he does the same, he has an even tone with every situation and thinks of the best interest in this community and the Deputies.  

Were you aware of why Mr. Kmatz left his job as a deputy at BCSO? 

 It was brought to my attention in the last administration, only because part of my job at that time was backgrounds on new hires.  I did not conduct the background on Undersheriff Kmatz, but it was no secret of the allegations, all I knew at the time is he was going to be hired as court security and eventually be transferred over to be a Deputy. 

Were you aware he was going to be terminated for looking at pornographic websites while on the clock, had he not resigned? 

 When I decided to possibly ask him to be my Undersheriff, I asked him to meet with me to discuss the allegations.  He did tell me what occurred while working with BCSO,  I weighed the totality of everything I knew as well as the person I got to know, and the experience he would be bringing and decided I was comfortable and confident in him.   I stand by him and want to assure anyone who may question my decision, I would never put myself or others in a position of negative attention especially as an elected official.  Undersheriff Mark Kmatz is a good person, he has given this agency his full attention, and is always willing to do what is best for the community and the deputies.  

BCSO said that Kmatz was looking at these sites while he was on a county computer and was clocking the hours while he was doing so… is that a concern to you? Are you concerned this may happen while he’s employed at Valencia County?

Like I said I have spoken to Undersheriff Kmatz and am comfortable with what I know, I do not have any concerns this would happen here.  

As KRQE News 13 was contacted by someone concerned about Mr. Kmatz’s hire, what would you say to them? 

 I would say, I have the most confidence in my choice as Undersheriff and anyone who knows him would agree.  I have never second guessed myself in this choice, and I would say the trust the community has in me I don’t believe anyone would agree I would do something to hurt my position, my reputation or the citizens of this county.   I chose him because I know he has the same vision for the citizens and the Deputies, he has proven this on a daily basis he works hard, and has been well received by the community.   

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