SANTA FE – The last time Michael Brockett talked with Mike Reeves, the topic was community.
“We talked about the Christmas parade,” Brockett said. “He was super excited about our department being a part of it. He was always big on community. That was his thing. He was proud of the Sheriff’s Office and he was proud to lead us.”
Reeves, the Curry County sheriff, was found dead in a Santa Fe hotel room Monday morning where he’d gone to attend law enforcement training.
He was 59 and survived by two sons, Collin and Hayden Reeves, and a daughter, Avery Reeves, according to a county news release.
Officials did not immediately announce a cause of death, but Brockett, Reeves’ undersheriff, said no foul play is suspected. An autopsy was scheduled Tuesday with the Office of the Medical Examiner in Albuquerque.
“We are heartbroken for the loss of Sheriff Reeves,” Curry County Manager Lance Pyle said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
“(He) made our county a better place and we are forever grateful for his decades of public service. He was not just a sheriff or co-worker, but a friend. We are going to miss him, this whole county is going to miss him.”
Brockett will assume the duties of sheriff until the Curry County Commission makes an appointment, Pyle said.
Brockett said he was not aware of any medical issues that caused Reeves concern prior to Monday. He said Reeves was scheduled to spend two weeks of training at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. Monday was the first day of that training; when Reeves didn’t show, concerned officials searched for him and found him deceased in his room.
Brockett on Monday night characterized Reeves as “a good man and a hell of a cop. I was lucky to be his undersheriff for a year. He was amazing.”
Keep the patrol car clean, rookie
They first met in 2001, when Brockett was a rookie in the Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Reeves was a bit intimidating in those early days, Brockett said.
“He maintained a very, very clean vehicle and he was very particular with it,” Brockett said.
“I remember one night my car broke down and I had to take his car and how scared I was. He had the cleanest vehicle I think I have ever driven. I made sure to return it meticulously clean.”
Law career spanned 35 years
Reeves ran unopposed for the sheriff’s job in 2022, succeeding Wesley Waller whose term limits had expired.
He spent more than 35 years in law enforcement, beginning his career with the Clovis Police Department in 1983. He retired from the Curry County Sheriff’s Department in August 2018, before running for sheriff after Waller’s retirement.
“Mike enjoyed many accomplishments and successes during his career, and was witness to many tragedies as well,” Waller told The News after Reeves’ retirement.
“He was a part of the initial group of deputies and officers that entered the Clovis-Carver Library on Aug. 28, 2017, moments after the mass-shooting. He was awarded a citation for valor for his courageous acts during that tragedy. It has been a pleasure to work with Mike and an honor to call him a friend.”
Reeves also had a career in the medical field, becoming a registered nurse in 2008.
An extended hospital stay as an 11-year-old – he’d been struck by a car while crossing a street near Gattis Junior High School -- inspired his career in medicine, he said.
“During that time I was bedridden and I had extraordinary experiences with the nurses that were taking care of me. It made an impact on me,” he said.
“And medicine is intriguing; the technical or science side of it intrigues me, and the service side of it intrigues me. It’s an area where you can really make an impact in people’s lives if your heart is in the right place. A positive impact.”
Reeves said in the 2018 interview that two memories stood out in the career as a law officer.
“There are many, but there are two medals I received that represent one of the brightest and one of the darkest days in my career,” he told reporter David Grieder.
“The life-saving medal from August of 2008 was when I helped a baby girl that was choking, and she ended up surviving from the choking incident. I was a new nurse at the time and just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I could feel her life slipping away in my arms, and when we finally cleared that choking it was such a relief.
“That was one of the two scariest days of my life. The other one was the library shooting. I never expected, here, to have to go to something like that. We prepared for it, and we showed ourselves to be very prepared for it. But still, it became very real - it wasn’t training anymore. This was happening. And it makes me very sad that something like that happened in our community.”
Tributes for Mike Reeves
• “Mike will forever be a legend in the Ninth Judicial District and not only because of the sheer length of his career in law enforcement, but also because of his passion for his chosen profession,” said District Judge David Reeb, a longtime friend.
“However, even more than his love for law enforcement was his love for his children, and his love for Jesus Christ. Mike was a very Godly man. Mike’s passing hurts us all. Mike will be missed.”
• Clovis Mayor Mike Morris, in a statement on behalf of the city and city commission: “Sheriff Reeves has been an outstanding advocate for our community and its safety, and will be sorely missed.”