Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Only 7% women in state police

October 25, 2021

About 13% of U.S. police are women, but among state police, it’s only 7%, as reported here. That figure was at 6% in 2000, indicating only a tiny increase in 20+ years. Some factors that make a police career less attractive to women in all kinds of agencies include a male-dominated culture, lack of family leave, and lack of child care assistance. For state police, the likelihood of assignment to remote areas far from family and friends adds another disincentive. Many state police agencies see the need to secure a more representative workforce and have implemented focused recruiting, though without much effect. The Vermont State Police, at 13% women, has had one of the most successful efforts, but as a captain notes, “The makeup of our department is probably 85% straight, White men. That’s not the makeup of the population of Vermont.”

Firearms mortality by state

March 26, 2021

In 2020, 44,000 Americans died by firearm in the U.S. — almost 20,000 by murder or accident, and 24,000 by suicide. This short column presents data on death by firearms by state for the previous year, 2019. Two states, Alaska and Mississippi, had firearms mortality rates 7 times higher than the state with the lowest rate, Massachusetts. Besides Alaska and Mississippi, other states with rates above 20 per 100,000 population were Alabama, Louisiana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Missouri. Along with Massachusetts, states with fewer than 5 per 100,000 were Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York.

Reality check in Albuquerque

January 21, 2021

Albuquerque was one of the first cities in 2020 to announce it would adopt non-police response to a variety of calls and incidents. Half a year later, the new system is still taking shape and the reality of limited funding, limited staff, and the ambiguous nature of many calls to police has reared its head, as reported here. The 911 center director notes that “many calls do not ultimately merit armed law enforcement but it can be difficult to determine that in advance of arriving at the scene.” The city already had funding for a co-responder system but couldn’t attract enough clinicians. Statewide, New Mexico only has enough mental health professionals to meet 12% of its need. One expert notes, “If there aren’t any other resources beyond the jail and hospital, it will still be cycling people back through those same broken systems.”

Re-funding proposal in Albuquerque

June 22, 2020

Albuquerque’s mayor has proposed creating a Community Safety Department staffed by specialists “who would be dispatched to homelessness and ‘down-and-out’ calls as well as behavioral health crises,” as reported here. The new department would be under the public safety umbrella along with police and fire. An official said “the city needs a pipeline of trained professionals to staff the department and that city leaders plan to work with state colleges and universities to create a pipeline program in which the city can help fund education for students who commit to coming to work for the new department after they complete their education.” Funding details have not been worked out, but city leaders argue the plan will allow police to focus more on their core functions, including community policing and investigations.

Meth and OIS in Colorado

February 7, 2020

These two Public Radio segments (Part 1 and Part 2) discuss the connection between methamphetamine abuse and police use of force in Colorado. For the period 2014-2019 the state had the nation’s 5th highest rate of fatal shootings by police, trailing only Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. During that period, 44% of the deceased suspects had meth in their system, according to autopsies, far higher than for any other substance. Experts say that heavy meth use leads to paranoia and delusions and “when people are using this drug, they’re significantly more likely to act out in a violent or hostile manner.” They also tend to be unfazed by less-lethal responses such as pepper spray and Tasers.

5 facts about crime in the U.S.

October 21, 2019

A useful synopsis of crime in the U.S. as of 2018 is available here from the Pew Research Center. Violent and property crime are down dramatically over the last 25 years, although these gains are not always recognized by the public. Crime rates vary substantially around the country — Alaska and New Mexico have violent crime rates 4 times higher than Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Shooting reviews in New Mexico

August 31, 2019

Per capita, New Mexico has had more police-involved fatal shootings than any other state in 3 of the last 4 years, according to this article. Family members and critics express frustration over the length of investigations, lack of transparency, and inconsistency across the state’s 33 counties and district attorneys. Proposals have been made to shift the responsibility to the state’s attorney general or some other state agency but legislation has not been enacted so far.

2019 POP Conference agenda

July 25, 2019

The 2019 POP Conference will be held November 11-13 in Santa Cruz, California. The preliminary agenda and registration information are here. The 5 finalist agencies for the Herman Goldstein award will present their problem-oriented policing initiatives and there will be 18 other sessions, some repeated twice. The range of topics includes domestic violence, opioids, chronic nuisances, auto burglaries, reducing alcohol-related harm, and much more, including introductions to POP, problem analysis, and situational crime prevention.

Rape kits in New Mexico

December 17, 2018

New Mexico has cleared its state crime lab backlog of 1,400 rape kits, while Albuquerque PD has cleared about half of its nearly 6,000 kit backlog, according to this article. The city’s testing has led to 575 matches so far, including both previously identified and unidentified suspects. To date, only 4 new cases have been referred for prosecution. Police say that once they get a match, they “begin a lengthy review of the evidence in the case and identify witnesses before reaching out to victims about the outcome of the rape kit tests.”

Navajo Nation police revival

October 3, 2018

The largest tribal police force is Navajo Nation, which covers an area larger than West Virginia. The agency struggled for almost a decade without a permanent police chief, but recently re-opened its police academy and graduated a new class of officers, with another class underway, according to this article. A senior officer says homegrown policing is key: “We are from this community. We understand the language, the personalities, the puns that we have. We understand our own people better than anyone who would come in.”