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Police sergeant placed on desk duty after rescinding resignation

January 4, 2017 GMT

A Santa Fe police sergeant on probation for harassing a department paralegal who testified against a second officer remains on the force but will be placed on desk duty and face disciplinary action, Chief Patrick Gallagher said Tuesday.

Gallagher said Charles Lujan had rescinded his resignation, which he was permitted to do under the city’s personnel rules.

The chief announced last week that Lujan had resigned one day after the completion of an internal affairs investigation of the harassment incident. Lujan had denied he had resigned, saying his departure from the force was a rumor started by another officer.

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Lujan pleaded no contest to harassment in state District Court in February 2016 and was sentenced to 364 days of unsupervised probation. Paralegal Anna Marie Bowen had accused Lujan of threatening her if she testified for prosecutors against Jason Wagner, then a lieutenant with the department, in a case of time card fraud.

Gallagher said he “probably wouldn’t have” allowed Lujan to rescind his resignation if the decision had been up to him. Lujan was scheduled to return to work Wednesday.

“It is pretty clear in the rules that as long as he does it [rescinds the resignation] within a certain time frame, it must be accepted, so it was,” Gallagher said. “He got it in the right amount of time.”

Gallagher declined to disclose the discipline that Lujan will face as a result of the internal affairs investigation. “The due process will proceed as if he never left, so to speak,” the chief said.

Gallagher said Lujan will not return to his job as a patrol supervisor.

“He will return to work on alternate duty, which is no contact with the public. No badge. No gun. No car,” the chief said. “He still has his rank at the moment. Everything is the same except his assignment.”

Lujan hung up on a reporter when reached for comment Tuesday.

In the timecard fraud case, Wagner pleaded no contest in February 2016 to attempting to receive public funds for services not rendered and received 364 days of unsupervised probation. He also resigned from the force as part of a plea agreement.

Wagner initially resigned from the department in 2013 because of accusations of timecard fraud but was rehired the following year by then-Police Chief Eric Garcia.

Contact Daniel J. Chacón at 505-986-3089 or dchacon@sfnewmexican.com. Follow him on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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