SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Department of Public Safety is the latest state agency to go in front of legislators to ask for more money ahead of the next fiscal year. This time, they’re asking for an about $13 million reoccurring budget increase.

NMDPS said it is focusing on retention, technology, and training, and is asking for that $13 million, or a 9% budget increase, to do so. “When you fund DPS, you really are funding the entire state of New Mexico. Whether it’s municipal, county, agency or the state, we really are providing services to a lot [of] different organizations, not just DPS,” said Jason Bowie, Cabinet Secretary for DPS.

The Cabinet Secretary went on to give an example of a four-week operation state police did in the Albuquerque metro area during Balloon Fiesta. He said the operation resulted in 172 arrests, of which 120 were felonies and 52 misdemeanors. He also said the operation recovered 32 stolen vehicles and 24 firearms.

For state police, which falls under DPS, the department is asking for a 3% increase to its general fund. That shakes out to about $3.6 million. According to the department’s presentation packet, the money would help pay for software upgrades, new tasers, ammunition, and help state police finish implementing the FY 2023 Officer Pay Plan. It will also help pay for tenured officer retention by assuring equitable pay.

DPS is also asking for $1.2 million in special appropriations for state police to pay for bulletproof plates to protect officers from rifle fire and for investigative technology, like scanners that would take 3D maps of a crime scene.

“It becomes very instrumental when you are testifying in court, exactly what was found at the scene and when and where, and that’s what these scanners provide. The ones that we currently have basically, they’re near the end of their life,” said Bowie.

In the department’s other divisions, DPS is asking for about $3.6 million for 15 new forensic scientists and three new administrative positions for its new forensic laboratory. It’s also asking for funding for new positions at the Law Enforcement Academy.

If approved, the DPS budget for FY 2024 would be about $163 million. Last year, DPS got a $20 million budget increase.