May 12, 2015

NM AG has big plans for Law Enforcement Academy

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Hector Balderas and senior staff members at a press conference announcing release of behavioral health audit in January 2015.

Photo by Matthew Reichbach

Photo by Matthew Reichbach

A group that oversees law enforcement training standards for the state will meet next month for the first time with its new chairman, New Mexico’s attorney general.

In a statement on Tuesday, Attorney General Hector Balderas said this is an important time for the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board.

“I intend to be a thoughtful and active chair and expect that this will be among the most aggressive and active boards in the country. We are coming together at a critical time nationally and locally, as the divide between law enforcement and the communities we serve continues to grow, from Ferguson to Baltimore and even here in New Mexico,” Balderas said.

He also said he has three major priorities for the board.

  • First, I believe that accountability starts at the top and I believe this board must maintain the highest standards of ethical and transparent public service as we carry out our duties pursuant to state law.
  • Second, I intend to balance the need to train and support our officers, giving them the tools they need to keep our communities safe, with the need to ensure that all officer discipline is handled appropriately and timely, as the public’s trust in law enforcement is at risk any time accountability is questioned.
  • Third, I will fully review the LEA curriculum to ensure that it is up-to-date with the best training available for officers, focusing on safety, but also ensuring that it is designed to meet the needs of our culturally diverse state, as well as addressing the needs of the members of our communities who struggle with mental health challenges.

 

He added that he intends to ensure all officers are properly trained and certified.

“Under my leadership, the LEA board will exercise every power at its disposal to ensure that New Mexico’s law enforcement officers are well-trained and appropriately licensed before they ever interact with the public, and that law enforcement respects and preserves the dignity of all cultures,” Balderas said.

His statement comes less than a week after a former instructor with the Albuquerque Police Department filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the department. According to the lawsuit, a number of current APD officers may not have received proper training and therefore may not be properly qualified for their jobs.

The Law Enforcement Academy Board oversees hiring and training practices and regulations for law enforcement officers in New Mexico.

The first scheduled meeting for the year is June 9, in Española, NM.

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