SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Santa Fe woman who was a 19-year veteran for the Santa Fe Police Department says she was wrongly forced out of her job. Now, she’s hoping her story can be the start of positive changes within the department.
Michele Williams worked her way up the ranks at the Santa Fe Police Department after beginning her career with them in 2001. But in 2018, she says she noticed something was off with her supervisor, then Deputy Chief Robert Vasquez.
“It was a work-related issue that I was trying to interact with him on that date, that’s when I realized that he was portraying himself to be at work and functionally, I was unable to get a hold of him as a supervisor,” Williams says.
She claimed that he was working when he wasn’t at work. Williams sent a complaint to the city manager. “I was subsequently transferred within two hours of me being notified of the outcome of the investigation,” she says.
Then, just last year during an event held by New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, again, Williams claimed something was off. “When we went to do a count of all the weapons that were to be destroyed, we realized that there were several of them that were missing or unaccounted for,” she says.
Again, she sent in a complaint. “It was a day and a half, I believe, with that memo being submitted that I was included as the target of the investigation,” she says.
All of this, Williams says she felt like she was being pushed out of the department for trying to do the right thing. “That gives a viable claim under the Whistleblower Protection Act,” says Thomas Grover.
Through her attorney, Grover, Williams is now suing the department with a whistleblower lawsuit. “On a public relations perspective may say one thing, it’s operating on an entirely different level,” Grover says.
KRQE News 13 tried asking SFPD if there was any timecard fraud from the former deputy chief, if the guns were found, and if there was any truth to Williams’ claims. No one ever responded to our questions.