Chief: Cop disciplined after shooting elk illegally

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By Tris DeRoma


A Los Alamos police officer cited for illegally taking a bull elk in Otero County last October has been sentenced.

According to LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone, Commander Preston Ballew has been disciplined and the matter has been resolved to his satisfaction.

“The matter was appropriately handled and we’re ready to move forward,” Sgambellone said.

Commander Preston Ballew pleaded no contest in Otero County Magistrate Court to one count of unlawful hunting or fishing and one count of vehicle travel under the Habitat Protection Act.

Ballew incurred no fines over the incident, but did receive 182 days of unsupervised probation. He must also pay $126 in court costs. He received a conditional deferred sentence that, if he meets all the conditions of the court, will result in all charges being dismissed Jan. 15, 2015.

Those conditions include that Ballew obey all laws, pay fines and fees as ordered, update his address and phone number with the court and no driving unless properly licensed to do so. 

The original complaint was filed by New Mexico Fish and Wildlife officer Jason Kline on Oct. 7, 2013. 

According to the complaint, Kline charged Ballew with with unlawfully shooting and killing a bull elk from a publicly maintained highway (accessory), unlawfully possessing a bull elk that had been unlawfully killed and unlawfully driving of a road into a habitat protection area.