Cops & courts: Former detective requesting aid

A former Clovis detective now training Iraqi citizens to become police officers is searching for donations to buy them team uniforms and equipment.

Keith Bessette, a detective who was shot while serving a search warrant in Clovis in December of 2002, said in a recent telephone interview from Iraq that his group of about 40 tactical trainees is in need of additional equipment and more distinctive uniforms.

He’s asking for help from the Clovis community, and has set up an account at the Bank of Clovis for anyone who wishes to donate. The account is under Keith Bessette/Iraq Uniform Fund at the bank, where donations will be accepted.

Bessette has been in Iraq training potential Iraqi police officers since this summer.

He said he’s not permitted to give details of his employment, but said “I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to serve my country in this manner. It’s been a great experience.

Bessette is scheduled to be in Clovis on Saturday for a two-week vacation. He said he plans to be at the Feb. 21 sentencing of the man accused of shooting him in the arm, Timothy Burke, 51.

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A self-described juvenile delinquent in his younger years, 9th Judicial District Chief Investigator Allan Farkas did a 180 after a judge in 1959 gave him an ultimatum — change your life or go to jail.

Almost half a century later and Farkas is retiring from a career in law enforcement that included 20 years of undercover narcotics work with the Clovis and Portales police departments and six years as the district attorney’s chief investigator.

“The judge suggested I go into law enforcement because I wasn’t very good as a crook,” Farkas said Friday. “I wish I was a younger person so I could continue working in the field …”

Farkas will continue to work in the district attorney’s office until the end of February. His retirement party was Saturday night at the Chaparral Country Club.

“I absolutely enjoyed working for the three district attorneys,” — former district attorneys Brett Carter and Randy Harris and District Attorney Matt Chandler — “it was a complete honor.”

A retired Air Force investigator, Farkas worked for 11 years at the Portales Police Department, and another nine with the Clovis Police Department.

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Ruben Hernandez, 31, of Clovis was sentenced Jan. 24 to 12 years in the Department of Corrections on numerous changes, including aggravated burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, conspiracy to commit assault with intent to commit a violent felony, and delivery of a counterfeit substance within a drug-free school zone.

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ news editor Mike Linn. His editor can be contacted at 763-6991 or: rick_white@link.freedom.com