SANTA FE, N.M. — The last legislative session in New Mexico saw a mix of hits and misses when it comes to bills related to public safety, according to Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina. While some bills did not make the cut, others, like House Bill 175, successfully secured funding for new technology and infrastructure for law enforcement throughout the state.
Thanks to this funding, the police department has been able to invest in additional license plate readers, interface technology to integrate their systems, and more cameras, as highlighted by Chief Medina. In addition to these technological upgrades, the department has also increased patrols, not just through physical presence but also by installing more cameras downtown and opening a new substation at 4th and Central.
These cameras are connected to the recently updated Real Time Crime Center, which Chief Medina credits for the successful enforcement of a new law targeting organized retail crime. By allowing police to combine multiple crimes for stronger penalties, this legislation has proven to be a long overdue solution. Thanks to the new law, APD has been able to ramp up its presence and patrols in key shopping areas like Uptown.
Another success from the legislative session includes a law that makes it a felony to purchase a gun for someone who is prohibited from doing so, and a law dedicated to Bennie Hargrove, an Albuquerque middle school student who tragically lost his life in a school shooting.
The upcoming legislative session is set to begin on January 16. With the legislative support and the investments made possible by House Bill 175, the Albuquerque Police Department is already making strides in improving public safety. In fact, Chief Medina shared that they have consolidated 20 cases and built 20 felony cases, bringing individuals to justice.
In summary, the last legislative session in New Mexico witnessed both hits and misses in terms of public safety bills. While some bills failed to pass, funding from House Bill 175 has enabled the Albuquerque Police Department to enhance their technology and infrastructure. The department has also benefited from the implementation of new laws, including those aimed at tackling organized retail crime and preventing wrongful gun purchases. As the next legislative session approaches, the APD is poised to continue its efforts in ensuring the safety of the community.