When metro-area cops pull over speeders, they’re finding a lot more than just a person with a lead foot. Traffic stops are way up and it’s one department’s way of preventing a crime problem before they have one.
“Our officers will run into things like drugs, guns stolen vehicles stolen property. So, it really benefits us all the way around,” said Los Lunas Police Chief Naithan Gurule.
Gurule says LLPD is trying to keep up with their quickly growing population and during traffic stops are finding a lot of people don’t even live there.
“I see a lot of people pulled over here who do not reside in the Village of Los Lunas,” said Officer Patrick Yokoyama.
When KRQE News 13 rode along with Yokoyama, the first call pulled over belonged to a driver who lives in Albuquerque, who should not have been driving.
“His license is coming back as suspended. It turned from one citation into 4 citations and a vehicle being towed,” said Yokoyama.
The Albuquerque driver had his license suspended for not paying child support. Gurule says they’re seeing more people in Los Lunas who are from Albuquerque.
“We’ve always dealt with the same people. We’ll locate stolen vehicles here that were stolen from Albuquerque and I’m sure vice versa,” said Gurule.
Gurule says to keep up with criminals crossing county lines and run-of-the-mill commuters, they’re putting a new focus on traffic stops.
“In April of 2018, we made 424 traffic stops. In April 2019 that jumped to 851,” said Gurule.
He says each month of 2019, their stops are up by at least 380.
“We are really pushing the officers to get out there and make traffic stops,” said Gurule.
Officers on the street say its working. They say they often find people who shouldn’t be on the road at all or who should be behind bars.
Los Lunas police recently brought four more officers on board. They expect their traffic numbers will continue to go up.
In Albuquerque, officers are averaging more than 4,500 traffic stops a month which is also a significant increase from years past.