Donato Sena New Chief of Police and Security Department at Highlands
New Mexico Highlands hired Donato Sena as its new chief of the Police and Security Department. Sena brings 40 years of distinguished law enforcement experience to his new position.
Sena, a Las Vegas native, started his career with the City of Las Vegas as a patrol officer in 1971, rising through the ranks to commander of criminal investigations before being appointed chief of police in 1983. He served as chief until his retirement from the force in 1991.
During his tenure as chief of police for the City of Las Vegas, Sena was instrumental in planning the San Miguel County Detention Center. He was appointed the center’s first director when it opened in 1996, serving for two years.
Sena directed the Region IV Drug Task Force from 1999 — 2004 and most recently worked with the task force through a contract. Other law enforcement experience includes working as a criminal investigator for the 4th Judicial District Attorney, and as a court bailiff and clerk for the 4th Judicial District Court.
Sena brings insight about Highlands University police operations and the campus community to his new position as chief, having served with the department three times over the years in various capacities.
Sena, who is 61, has extensive experience with developing policy, managing budgets and personnel, collaborating with local and state law enforcement agencies, and securing grant funding to implement new programs.
“First I’ll review all the policies, programs, and initiatives of the campus police department and fine tune them as needed,” Sena said. “My goal is to implement the most current police procedures and practices. We have a motivated and dedicated staff in the police department. I believe we can move forward and excel.”
Sena said education and prevention programs are a very high priority for him because they are the key to a safe campus environment. He is already working with the university’s new Campus Violence Prevention Program and its director, Kimberly Valdez.
The university’s Police and Security Department is a full-service agency that operates 24/7. It is staffed by certified police officers, security officers, dispatchers and one administrative staff person.
Certified police officers respond to disturbances on campus that might involve criminal activity. Security officers provide security for buildings on campus and an array of services to students, such as safe rides at night and helping when they lock their keys in their cars.
Sena said he wants his department to be a helpful, approachable resource for students and the entire campus community.
“Police work is always interesting and that’s one reason I’ve never retired,” Sena said. “I want to keep using my expertise to help others. It’s very rewarding when you wear that badge and do it right.”
For both emergencies and non-emergencies, the number for the university’s Police and Security Department is 505-454-3278. From a campus phone, dial 5555.