Rio Rancho Police Chief Stewart Steele, left, shakes hands with Deputy Chief Jason Bowie while presenting Bowie with the Chief of Police’s Commendation Award for organizing security during President Donald Trump’s visit Sept. 16. The presentation was during at the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting on Sept. 25, 2019. Argen Marie Duncan photo.

One Rio Rancho Police deputy chief is the next state Department of Public Safety cabinet secretary.

Jason Bowie, a 27-year veteran of RRPD, will relieve acting Secretary of Public Safety Timothy Q. Johnson, who’s held the leadership role in a temporary capacity since last September, according to an announcement from the Office of the Governor on Thursday.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve my fellow New Mexicans in this role,” Bowie said in the announcement. “I’ve been fortunate in my law enforcement career to have the experience of both an officer on the beat building relationships with a community and an administrator working to support those officers and uphold the mission to protect and serve.

“Too many New Mexicans know the pain and hardship caused by violent crime. And New Mexicans expect and deserve public safety officers who are committed to the communities they serve, impeccably trained and fully accountable to the public.

“The Department of Public Safety and the sworn women and men of the New Mexico State Police work tirelessly in every corner of our state every single day to make a positive difference – and to root out and prevent violent crime and hold those criminals accountable. That work will continue, and my expectation is that we will think outside the box and work closely with local law enforcement agencies and community stakeholders to identify and implement strategies to help us move forward and reduce recidivism and ameliorate the conditions that lead to violent criminal behavior.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said New Mexicans were fortunate to have “deeply qualified women and men” willing to serve in state-government leadership roles. Along with Bowie’s appointment, her office announced the selection of Kurt A. Steinhaus as public education secretary, replacing Ryan Stewart, who is stepping down to address family health issues.

“These are not easy jobs. A pandemic doesn’t make them any easier,” Lujan Grisham said in the announcement. “New Mexicans expect a lot from their leaders. I do, too. I’m grateful to Jason and Kurt for their willingness to serve, I’m excited about their passion for solving problems and thinking outside the box, and I am very much looking forward to working with them on the issues that matter to New Mexicans.”

Bowie, 49, has been one of two RRPD deputy chiefs since 2019.

In 1994, he began his public-safety career as an officer in the department’s patrol division, serving 10 years in that role and earning Officer of the Year commendation in 2003, according to the announcement. He was promoted in 2005 to the rank of sergeant, supervising the patrol division.

He was later reassigned and tasked to develop a “Special Services Unit” composed of plainclothes officers responsible for the investigation and apprehension of violent and repeat offenders in Rio Rancho and the Albuquerque Metro Area. The assignment required extensive partnership with state and federal agencies.

At the same time, he also developed and implemented RRPD’s first SWAT K9 unit. In 2010, Bowie was promoted to lieutenant and in 2014 to captain, in which roles he served as SWAT commander and department operations commander, respectively, in addition to other managerial, administrative and leadership duties.

Since 1995 Bowie has served as a SWAT team member and eventually became Rio Rancho’s SWAT commander. As commander, he has managed critical incidents and coordinated staffing and training, as well as contributing to the agency’s SWAT budgeting process.

According to the announcement, Bowie’s training history includes instructor certifications and management training courses in diversity, equity and inclusion; implicit bias for law enforcement; constitutional policing; active shooter executive management; and more.

Staff Report