Marfa Police Chief Steve Marquez resigns

MARFA — Steve Marquez, Marfa’s chief of police since the department’s re-formation in 2017, abruptly stepped down from the leadership position last week, city officials confirmed. When reached for comment this week, Marquez cited personal family matters as the reason for his resignation.

In a phone call with The Big Bend Sentinel on Wednesday, Marquez said that his “personal life and chief life were getting intertwined” and that he needed to “put [his] family first and fix some things.” 

“As chief, there were certain aspects of my life that were being pushed aside in my personal life, so I need to put that first now,” Marquez said. “That’s why I decided this would be the best way to proceed.”

Marquez tendered his resignation last Thursday, March 9, City Manager Mandy Roane confirmed on Tuesday. Roane declined to comment further on Marquez’s resignation, stating, “We don’t discuss personnel issues.” 

Marquez’s resignation was raised briefly at Tuesday night’s regular City Council meeting by Mayor Manny Baeza, who stated only that Chief Marquez had resigned and Lieutenant Gilberto Carillo would be serving as interim police chief until the position is filled. Baeza made no further public remarks about Marquez’s departure or his roughly five-year tenure as chief.

Next steps in filling the position will be discussed at the upcoming City Council meeting on March 30. City Council is responsible for the search and appointment of Marquez’s replacement.

Mayor Baeza declined to comment further on Marquez’s resignation, stating that it was a personnel matter.

Marquez was the first — and so far, only — officially-appointed chief of the reconstituted Marfa Police Department, which re-formed in 2017 after the original department disbanded in 2009. After a somewhat tumultuous relaunch, with citizens complaining of heightened police presence and traffic violations, Marquez — a Marfa native — publicly emphasized a strategy of community outreach, transparency and communication

Marquez last spoke to The Big Bend Sentinel three weeks ago, as Marfa Independent School District’s new school resource officer (SRO), Ian Martinez, took his position on campus. At the time, Marquez said he would be serving as Martinez’s mentor and would be called upon in the event of an incident at the school until Martinez is able to undergo SRO training in April.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, interim Chief Carillo said he and another officer were overseeing Martinez’s training.

Marquez told The Big Bend Sentinel that he wished the department the best, and that while he is no longer police chief, he will continue to serve as a peace officer in Marfa in his role as Presidio County constable.

“I want to thank Marfa, all the citizens of Marfa for all the support, the ones that were behind the department and supported me as chief,” said Marquez. “I’ll continue to serve my community in another aspect — I’ll remain Presidio County constable.”

“I’m still going to be around,” he continued. “I’m not going anywhere — I’ll still be here.”