Marfa City Council selects Gilberto Carrillo as new police chief 

Gilberto Carrillo was named as the Marfa Police Department’s new chief of police last week. Carrillo has been with the department since it was reinstated back in 2017. Photo courtesy of Chief Carrillo.

MARFA — In a meeting last week, Marfa City Council announced the selection of Gilberto Carrillo as the Marfa Police Department’s new chief of police. Carrillo had been serving as interim police chief since the sudden resignation of Steve Marquez, who had been in the role since the department’s reconstitution in 2017. 

Carrillo has also been with the department since its 2017 reformation, noted City Manager Mandy Roane, making him a natural fit for the leadership position.

“Gilbert Carrillo is an excellent officer and has been with the PD since it was reinstated, so he’s very invested in its success,” said Roane. “He has a deep love of the community, especially our kids, and I think he will be a great fit for the role.”

Marquez tendered his resignation as chief on March 9, citing personal family matters when reached by The Big Bend Sentinel, stating that his “personal life and chief life were getting intertwined” and that he needed to “put [his] family first and fix some things.” 

In the wake of Marquez’s departure, Carrillo said he plans to uphold the previous chief’s tenants of community engagement and transparency.  

“The department’s going to run the same way — everything that he had and he started, we’re just going to keep doing the same thing,” said Carrillo in an interview with The Big Bend Sentinel. “The community, that’s our biggest concern. The office is open for everyone to walk in at any time and speak to us. We will keep that same transparency with the community.” 

Carrillo, who is originally from El Paso, will serve as the department’s second official chief of police. He said he had been effectively acting as an assistant to Marquez for years, since he became a lieutenant with the department — a promotion that came just seven months after he first joined the force.

Marfa PD Officer Nichole Fuentes, who has several years of law enforcement experience, will now move up into the lieutenant role as Carrillo takes over as chief. In addition to officers Arturo Alferez and Adriana Rodriguez, the PD recently hired and oversees a Marfa ISD school resource officer, Ian Martinez, who will serve as an officer for the city while school is out for the summer. The department also has an opening for a new officer. 

Carrillo said his short stint as interim chief of police was likely due to the fact that the department requires a permanent leader in order to function properly. He gathered that council members preferred to hire from within the department than attempt to attract a new chief of police, as the cost of living in Marfa makes it difficult to attract outside hires. (Roane noted that a chief must be in place in order to abide by grant and reimbursement requirements, but declined to comment further. Mayor Manny Baeza did not return requests for comment).

Carrillo is up to date on necessary training, in accordance with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which requires all police officers undergo 40 hours of training every two years. He estimates he’s amassed over 2,000 hours of training — both fundamental and additional supplemental training — throughout his career. 

Before entering into his profession in law enforcement, Carrillo worked as a general manager of his father’s restaurant in El Paso starting at age 18 and ultimately owned his own restaurant — experiences he said helped develop his leadership skills.