AP NEWS

New Mexico State Police to reduce presence in Albuquerque

May 31, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police will reduce by half the number of officers assigned to patrol Albuquerque streets, the agency said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered 50 state police officers to the city earlier this month as part of an operation addressing violent crime, the Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday.

The agency will move 25 officers back to their original posts Monday, State Police Chief Tim Johnson said.

“The assignment was never intended to be permanent,” said Lt. Mark Soriano, a spokesman for the agency. “New Mexico State Police has a plan in place to gradually reduce the number of officers assigned to the Albuquerque operation.”

The city planned to keep the extra state officers for 45 to 50 days, Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier said earlier this month.

Soriano did not say how many state officers will remain in the city for the duration of the operation.

The operation was criticized after state officers were involved in two separate shootings within an hour of each other on May 16. No one died in the shootings, but one person was injured.

Police reform advocates then called on the mayor and governor to ensure state police in the city follow the same use-of-force policies as local officers.

Otero County Sheriff David Black also raised concerns about the operation in an open letter Sunday, saying it removes needed police resources from other areas. The six state officers removed from the county has left the sheriff’s office without enough officers to carry out its own operations, he said.

State officers in Albuquerque have made more than 250 arrests, including dozens for felonies and 13 for DWIs, the governor’s office said last week. New figures were not provided this week.

The operation has been “very successful in slowing down the rate of violent crime,” Soriano said. He didn’t provide the newspaper with supporting statistics.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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