ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Monday that New Mexico State Police officers will begin crime suppression and traffic enforcement operations in the Albuquerque area. NMSP will begin its “proactive operations” in Albuquerque Tuesday, August 17.
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“We know from our last effort there were a lot of arrests made. We think this is going to make an impact and we’re going to continue to go after fugitives right and we’ve got felony warrants, people out. It takes all of us working together to get these people picked up and held,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
NMSP will also be working with the New Mexico Department of Corrections and Adult Probation and Parole. According to the news release, they will work together to target criminals who have outstanding warrants for violent crimes and are believed to be involved in ongoing criminal activity in Albuquerque.
“Proactive crime suppression efforts can help solve crimes and often help prevent crime in the Albuquerque Metro area,” said Tim Johnson, Chief of the New Mexico State Police in a news release. “Citizens have described the driving on the interstates in Albuquerque as chaotic, often leaving them feeling unsafe or frightened. Shootings, murder and overall violent crime feels like a daily occurrence in the metro, we hope our plan can help slow this trend.”
The previous surge was held in May of 2019 following the shooting of the University of New Mexico baseball player Jackson Weller outside of a Nob Hill bar. Fifty NMSP officers got pulled from communities all over the state and patrolled the metro for two months, ultimately arresting 738 people and doing more than 14,000 traffic stops.
According to a news release, 35 NMSP officers will be assigned to the three-week-long operation in Albuquerque. Officers will conduct operations along I-25 and I-40 in Bernalillo County. They will also be on highways during peak traffic hours. As of now, 42 NMSP officers are stationed in the metro but they patrol a huge area from Bernalillo to Los Lunas and Grants to Edgewood.
KRQE News 13 asked NMSP Chief Tim Johnson if he thinks the Albuquerque metro area should have more NMSP officers all the time. “Do I personally think there should be more officers in the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo county? Yes, I do,” Johnson said.
KRQE News 13 also asked Johnson if NMSP officers should have more officers in the area permanently. “I would love that but one thing I think is very important I think we must understand about State Police is, that the vast majority of our work and our funding is for rural policing,” Johnson said.
Both Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and District Attorney Raul Torres welcome NMSP officers saying they hope they can focus their efforts on violent repeat offenders. Lujan Grisham also made a pitch to the legislature Monday asking for funding to get the NMSP force up to 1,000, saying if that happens, we can see more of these operations all over the state.
Right now, there are about 650 State Police officers. Earlier this year, NMSP did send more officers to both Valencia and McKinley counties for similar operations.