NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As crime continues to be a top priority for lawmakers this session, a new bill aims to tackle a problem facing the entire state. It’s a backlog of thousands of outstanding arrest warrants.
During a news conference in early January, Albuquerque city leaders proposed a more than $50 million funding request to help with different law enforcement investments including the warrant backlog.
“We also want to make sure that we just don’t serve these warrants. That the DA’s office is prepared, and we have cases ready to make sure these individuals stay in custody put our best foot forward in preventative detention hearings,” said Chief Harold Medina during the January 6 conference.
There were 1,400 felony warrants served in Bernalillo County last year. At the time of the conference, there were 5,000 outstanding felony warrants.
“If you ask any law enforcement person in Albuquerque what is the number one thing we can do in the next month to reduce crime, it is get those warrants served,” said Mayor Keller at the conference.
One bill could make the money possible. Representatives Bill Rehm, Stefani Lord, and Andrea Reeb introduced House Bill 97. It would give money to local and state agencies to help tackle all the outstanding felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants.
If passed, it would give $9 million to police departments, sheriff’s offices, and New Mexico State Police offices in Bernalillo County. A total of $1 million would go to the District Attorney. An additional $10 million would be given to the state’s Department of Public Safety to partner with and help other local agencies across the state tackle the backlog.
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Any money not used by the end of 2024 would go to the general fund. The bill is expected to be discussed during Monday’s House Judiciary Meeting which will meet at 1:30 p.m.