Algernon D’Ammassa, Las Cruces Sun-News
Published 5:57 p.m. MT Sept. 26, 2019
DASO Major Tom Hennigh faces questions possible revocation of certification
LAS CRUCES – Questions regarding the law enforcement certification of Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office Major Tom Hennigh were raised in 2018, the Sun-News has learned.
Yet public documents indicate Hennigh continued to work for several months as a commissioned law enforcement officer before being placed on leave by Sheriff Kim Stewart in June of this year.
As major, Hennigh was third in command at the sheriff’s department. He was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation as well as an investigation by the state law enforcement academy over his certification.
The LEA board voted to launch its investigation at its May 29, 2019 meeting.
A letter to Hennigh from Stephan Marshall, then the director of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy informs the major that the academy was contacted by Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office after the county’s human resources department questioned his eligibility for the state’s certification by waiver program.
Under New Mexico law, an applicant who was employed up to eight years previously as a full-time law enforcement officer can obtain certification in New Mexico through an 80-hour course instead of basic police officer training.
Don’t miss a single local report: subscribe to the Las Cruces Sun-News today.
“Your agency attested that you met the requirements,” Marshall wrote, “but further review of your application revealed that you left law enforcement twelve years before the Certification by Waiver class.”
The letter, obtained through a public records request, has no date but refers to “next month’s meeting (of the LEA board of directors) on December 11, 2018,” indicating the letter was produced in November.
At the time, DASO was under the command of Sheriff Enrique “Kiki” Vigil. Stewart was elected sheriff in November and assumed office in January of this year.
Hennigh retired as a full-time police officer in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 2005. According to notes from his meeting with Sheriff Stewart on June 3, Hennigh indicated he believed that time spent on reserve duty after 2005 counted toward his eligibility for the waiver course. He is recorded as remarking, “had he known reserve time didn’t count, (he) wouldn’t have gone through (the) process.”
It is not clear that any cases, pending or closed, would be affected if Hennigh’s certification is declared invalid.
The job description for the major position describes the duties as administrative and supervisory, with responsibility over the Field Operations Bureau and coordinating staff and departmental training. It also requires the major to “remain physically able to perform all duties of a law enforcement officer.”
Doña Ana County spokeswoman Kelly Jameson told the Sun-News, “There is no list of cases for which the lead agent is DASO Major Thomas Hennigh, nor were there any cases assigned to Thomas Hennigh during his employment.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/2019/09/26/daso-major-tom-hennigh-law-enforcement-certification-questioned-2018-dona-ana-county-sheriffs-office/3779882002/
Sept. 26, 2019, 12:29 p.m.
Sept. 25, 2019, 4:51 p.m.
Sept. 25, 2019, 10:26 a.m.
Sept. 26, 2019, 7:35 a.m.
Sept. 25, 2019, 1:19 p.m.
Sept. 24, 2019, 3:48 p.m.