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Certification of ex-RPD officer revoked

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The law enforcement certification of a former Roswell police officer now serving prison time on charges related to an armed robbery has been revoked. 

Valerie Palombi (Submitted Photo)

A majority of the seven-member New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board voted at an April 1 meeting to revoke the certification of Valerie Palombi, 29, because of her conviction on charges related to an armed robbery, H.L. Lovato, communications director for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, said Friday.

Lovato did not say how many members of the board, chaired by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, voted to revoke her certification.

Palombi, who was an officer with the Roswell Police Department from 2014 to 2016, will not be able to get another job in New Mexico law enforcement due to the board’s action.

“She cannot work as a certified law enforcement officer in the state of New Mexico,” Lovato said.

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Arrest or indictment on felony charges is grounds in New Mexico to deny, revoke or suspend the certification of a police officer or dispatcher, according to state law.

Lovato added that when complaints are filed against an officer or dispatcher, the NMLEA investigates and makes a determination on what course of action should be taken in response to the allegations, and due process is afforded to each officer or dispatcher.

The board then reviews the complaint before making a final decision on whether to suspend, deny or revoke certification or dismiss the complaint, he added.

Jonathan Miller, Palombi’s attorney, was not available for comment before press time Tuesday.

Palombi was convicted of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of evading, resisting or obstructing an officer following a February 2019 jury trial. She was sentenced in June of that same year to a prison term of six years with another five suspended and to be served on supervised probation.

According to court documents, on June 28, 2016 — months after Palombi’s employment with RPD had been terminated — Palombi and Kevin Blake, 29, of Roswell, robbed a Subway restaurant on North Main Street in Roswell.

Blake, who is currently serving time on charges related to the incident, is alleged to have entered the restaurant at 9:30 p.m. and held two employees at gunpoint. Palombi then came into the restaurant and took $600 from the cash register.

Blake was arrested that same night. Palombi was arrested two nights later after police spotted her at a convenience store.

Palombi later appealed her conviction, but the appeal was denied in October 2020 by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Chief Phil Smith of the RPD said he was glad to see Palombi’s certification revoked, but wishes it happened sooner.

“I would hope that when somebody goes to prison they don’t retain their certification,” he said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.