Chief prospects discuss careers

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Melnick > Brought Los Lunas PD out of disarray

By Arin McKenna

First in a series on the five candidates for Los Alamos Police Chief.


Roy E. Melnick has served as chief of the Los Lunas police department since 2009. He was also police chief in St. Johns, Ariz., from 2008–2009 and Ashland, Mass., from 2000–2006.

In his cover letter, Melnick, 58, writes, “My strongest attribute is my ability to bring about positive change, to restore public trust and confidence in police departments in need of change, reform and the infusion of new ideas and leadership.”

When he spoke with the Los Alamos Monitor, Melnick again stressed his experience transforming departments.

“I would bring my training, education and experience, and the success of rebuilding three prior police departments that were in similar situations,” Melnick said, citing the Los Lunas department as an example.

“The police chief had left and it was a department in turmoil. Seven officers had vacated the department and gone to Albuquerque, and it was just in disarray.

“So I came in and spent six months learning the community and learning the personnel within the department, the strengths and weaknesses, and then reorganized the department into what was a more efficiently operating chain of command.”

Melnick believes in mentoring and promoting officers from within the ranks. His current command staff consists of seven sergeants, four lieutenants and a deputy. Nine of those have been promoted during his tenure. Two of the lieutenants and all seven of the sergeants were patrol officers when Melnick took over.

Melnick believes the model he used in Los Lunas — reorganizing, training and promoting from within – would work well in Los Alamos.

“What I see up in Los Alamos, is the top management needs a new infusion of leadership,” Melnick said.
“I would sit back for six months, try to learn the strengths and weaknesses of all the employees then develop a reorganization plan and try to use the employees within the department before I’d even consider looking outside. Because I think there’s lots of talent within any organization when you go in. You just have to identify it, and then develop it.”

Melnick’s other accomplishments include initiating the process for state law enforcement accreditation when he took over in Los Lunas. The accreditation was awarded in 2012. He organized a regional drug task force for Valencia County and currently oversees its operations. He is also on the board of the Valencia Emergency Regional Communications Center.

Other notable accomplishments include currently serving as a member of the FBI Joint Counterterrorism Task Force Executive Board, with national security clearance, and experience serving as senior police advisor for the Iraqi National Police in Baghdad and authoring the Iraqi National Police Policies and Procedures Operations Manual.

Melnick has a Juris Doctorate in law from the Massachusetts School of law, an M.B.A. in business administration from Rivier College in New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Melnick has continued his education throughout his career. Other credits include graduating top in his class from the FBI National Police Academy for Law Enforcement Executive Leadership, completing the Senior Management Leadership Program at Northwestern University and the Southern Police Institute’s Chief Executive Leadership program. He is currently enrolled in Harvard’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

Melnick’s career began with 21 years in Londonderry, N.H., serving as captain for eight of those.
When asked why he wants to come to Los Alamos, Melnick replied, “I see some great challenges within the police department. It’s a very good police department, but it needs an infusion of new leadership. And I like to take on new challenges, and Los Alamos offers that for me.”