Melrose hires female police chief

CNJ staff photo: Gabriel Monte Jennifer Dreiling will begin her first day as Melrose police chief on Monday.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Melrose’s first female police chief starts work Monday.

Melrose Mayor and Personnel Manager Lance Pyle hired Jennifer Dreiling, 30, during Thursday’s city commission meeting.

Dreiling, a 1996 Clovis High School graduate, worked as a police officer for a year and half in Warner Robins, Ga., a city with a population of about 50,000.

She said she moved back to Clovis in September to be closer to family.

As the Melrose police chief, she said it’s important for her to be involved in the community more than the administrative work.

“You have to be visible, have to stop and have to talk, you cannot just hide in your car and make traffic stops all day,” she said.

Pyle said he interviewed four other applicants. Dreiling was the only woman who applied for the job, according to Pyle. He said Dreiling scored the highest in a written test and an oral interview.

“She was a great interview and I’m excited about her becoming a part of our community,” he said.

Dreiling earned associate degrees in criminal justice and early childhood education from Georgia Military College.

She replaces former police chief Lee Ferguson, who resigned last month to join the Parmer County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy. He was the city’s lone officer.

Pyle said the Curry County Sheriff’s office and the New Mexico State Police have provided law enforcement service since Ferguson left.

Pyle said Dreiling has 60 to 90 days to move to Melrose.

She will make $28,500 a year plus benefits, according to Pyle.

Pyle said he will look for funds to hire a part-time police officer.