Deputy Forced to Resign for Watching Porn on Duty is Rehired as an Undersheriff

Mark Kmatz claims he was not watching porn, just conducting police research.

Despite being forced to resign from the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office in 2015 for watching 105 hours of porn while on duty, Mark Kmatz insists it was all part of police work.

But his superiors considered it time fraud, so they filed a misconduct complaint against him with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, the state agency that certifies police officers.

He agreed to a settlement where his law enforcement license was revoked for five months and he is now an undersheriff with the Valencia County Sheriff's Office.

And he is also suing the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office for lost wages and for the "mental anguish and humiliation" he suffered as a result of being forced to resign because he was never watching porn. He was only "researching a specific group of people with distinct tattoos and piercings."

He also points out that even if he had been watching porn, he should not have been fired because he knows of other deputies "committing much more egregious violations of policy who were not fired.”

Knowing police culture as we do, we believe him.

According to an August 2017 article in the Albuquerque Journal:

The complaint says that in February 2015 a female deputy made a sexual harassment accusation against another deputy, and Kmatz told her to file a complaint. He was then interviewed as part of that internal affairs investigation, and Kmatz said he “engaged in protected activity of opposing discrimination in the workplace.”

Weeks later, Kmatz said in the complaint, he was the target of an internal affairs investigation for surfing the internet on duty and looking at pictures of nude women. The complaint doesn’t describe where Kmatz looked at the photos, or why he had to research nudes.

Kmatz said in the complaint that compared with viewing photos of naked women, he “is aware of other deputies committing much more egregious violations of policy who were not fired.”

The complaint, filed in 2nd Judicial District Court, is seeking damages that would compensate him for the earnings he would have received if he had not been forced to resign and additional damages “for his mental anguish and humiliation.”

Meanwhile, the Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office said the allegations of time card fraud were never referred to their offices to pursue charges nor were they forwarded to the Attorney General's Office, which released the following statement, according to KRQE.

"Law enforcement employers have the duty to report misconduct and violations of law to the LEA Board for disciplinary review. My office has not received a referral in this case.

Valencia County Sheriff Denise Vigil said he hired Kmatz in June 2016 because of his 20 years of experience as a law enforcement officer.

Comments (3)
No. 1-2
StevenThomas1949
StevenThomas1949

In the Army we used to call this You Got to Fuck up to Move up! There are plenty more examples.

Ben Keller
Ben Keller

Editor

You guys know I'm always up to criticize police for good reason.

But I don't see the issue here, really.

Departments and news media have more important things to worry about than someone looking at nudes.

To me, this is like the cop fired his and banned from law enforcement and even security work because a video surfaced showing him smoking pot.

They throw everything but the kitchen sink at the guy not hurting anyone, but look the other way about stuff way worse, hurting people, ruining lives, fabricating, etc.

If everyone was treated equally, that'd be different. But the system is designed to protect the worst with impunity while they make examples out of pot smokers and porn surfers.

This is more about appearances than accountability.