Motor Vehicle Thefts Spike In New Mexico, Officer With Crisis Training Recalls Standoff With Boyd

Sep 27, 2016

FBI: Motor Vehicle Thefts In New Mexico Up Around 36 Percent -
By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

The FBI says motor vehicle thefts reported by New Mexico law enforcement agencies jumped around 36 percent in 2015 from the year before.

New crime statistics released this week show the estimated number of motor vehicle thefts in New Mexico was 8,526, or a 35.5 percent surge from the 2014 estimate.

That spike was well above the percentage increase nationally. The FBI says the estimated number of motor vehicle thefts in the nation was 707,758, or a 3.1 percent increase.

Meanwhile, overall property crimes in New Mexico rose 4.4 percent last year while those crimes decreased nationwide.

FBI says property crimes across the country dropped 2.6 percent, marking the 13th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

Officer With Crisis Training Recalls Standoff – The Associated Press

An Albuquerque police officer trained to handle encounters with the mentally ill says he had achieved some progress in negotiations with a homeless man to drop his knives before officers with a tactical unit moved in to replace him.

The testimony from Officer Mikal Monette on Tuesday came as a special prosecutor questioned him about the March 2014 standoff that ended with the fatal shooting of homeless camper James Boyd. Boyd was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Now-retired Detective Keith Sandy and former Officer Dominique Perez are standing trial on second-degree murder charges in Boyd's death.

Special prosecutor Randi McGinn has faulted police for their response to Boyd's illegal campsite, saying a series of fateful decisions escalated the encounter and led to Boyd's death.

Monette also recalled Boyd went through volatile moodswings after he threatened officers.

New Mexico Judiciary Cuts Spending Amid State Budget CrunchThe Associated Press 

New Mexico's judiciary system is cutting travel reimbursements to help rein in spending as the state wrestles with a budget shortfall.

The Administrative Office of the Courts announced Tuesday plans to save about $500,000 this fiscal year by lowering the mileage reimbursement rate for travel by judges, court staff, jurors, interpreters and court-ordered witnesses.

The New Mexico Legislature is preparing for a possible special session to replenish depleted operating reserves and address revenue shortfalls linked to energy markets. Gov. Susana Martinez has directed agencies under her control to attempt to trim spending by 5 percent with some exceptions.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels says that even a 1 percent spending reduction by the judiciary would affect some drug courts, while a 3 percent would impact jobs and court hours.

FBI: New Mexico Murders Jumped Nearly 16 Percent Last YearAssociated Press

The FBI says the number of murders reported by New Mexico law enforcement agencies jumped by nearly 16 percent in 2015 from the year before.

New crime statistics released on Monday show the estimated number of murders in New Mexico was 117, or a 15.8 percent jump from the 2014 estimate.

That spike was above the percentage increase nationally. The FBI says the estimated number of murders in the nation was 15,696, or a 10.8 percent increase.

Meanwhile, overall violent crime in New Mexico jumped nearly 10 percent in 2015.

The troubled city of Espanola continued to have one of the state's highest violent crime rates per 100,000 residents. According to an analysis by The Associated Press, Espanola's violent crime rate was 2,623.8.

Albuquerque, the state's largest city, had a violent crime rate of 965.8.

Liberal Activists To Denounce Martinez's Death Penalty Plan Associated Press

Liberal advocates and some Democratic lawmakers say they will strongly oppose a push by Gov. Susana Martinez to reinstate the death penalty.

The coalition of death penalty foes is scheduled Tuesday to denounce the governor's plan to bring back capital punishment in New Mexico after it was abolished seven years ago. They are meeting at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice to discuss how they will oppose the governor's plan.

Martinez vowed last week to add the issue to a legislative agenda for a pending special session aimed solely at fixing the state's budget shortfall.

The second-term Republican governor says she wants the death penalty as an option for convicted killers of police, children and corrections officers.

New Mexico repealed the death penalty in 2009 before Martinez took office.

Bernalillo County To Spend $4M Battling AddictionAlbuquerque Journal

New services for those with mental health issues or addiction problems are in the offing in Bernalillo County thanks to a 2015 tax increase.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the county plans to spend $4 million a year on more services that will be part of an array of new programs funding through a tax that will bring in about $17 million a year.

A group of subcommittees and a panel of city and county representatives have been discussing how to use the funds. Commissioners will meet Tuesday to discuss several proposals. Those include $1 million for community engagement teams to help people who have addictions or mental illness find services.

Another $2 million would go towards identifying children at risk of neglect or abuse, and $650,000 would go toward programs that offer temporary shelter for teens and young adults.

Additional funds would go toward a behavioral health advisor overseeing the services and for evaluation of the services by an institute at the University of New Mexico.

New Mexico's Oil Production Decreases In Early 2016Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Statistics from the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division show a drop in the state's production during the first half of 2016.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that statewide oil production fell nearly 5 percent in the first seven months of the year. The latest statistics show that the production was down by about four million barrels from January to July, dropping to 82 million barrels from 2015's 86 million during the same time period.

The numbers show the first significant drop in New Mexico's oil production since crude prices crashed in 2014. Steeper declines are possible, with prices are unlikely to rise significantly until next year.

Union: Albuquerque Officers Aren't Applying For Sergeant KOB-TV, Associated Press

The Albuquerque police union says staffing troubles aren't just at the recruitment level, and that officers aren't applying for leadership roles.

KOB-TV reports that the Albuquerque Police Department has about 800 personnel working at a department that needs more than 1,000 and that now union leaders say there's a leadership shortage as well.

Officer's union President Shaun Willoughby says Department of Justice regulations have made it harder for officers to become sergeants and also have made the workload unappealing. Willoughby says the pay increase from officer first class is only about $4 an hour and that it involves a lot more work.

Willoughby says an average 105 officers apply for sergeant at APD each year but only 45 have applied so far in 2016.

Dan Miles, 1 Of 3 Founders Of The Los Alamos Monitor, Dies Los Alamos Monitor, Associated Press

Dan Miles, one of the three founders of the Los Alamos Monitor, has died. He was 95.

The newspaper's editor Jill McLaughlin told The Associated Press that Miles died Wednesday at his home in Los Alamos.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports Miles started the newspaper with John Barnett and Mark McMahon in 1963 out of a small office above a jewelry store.

A geologist for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Miles came to Los Alamos with the idea of starting a newspaper in a town that didn't have one.

Miles was born in Akron, Ohio and served in the First Cavalry Division in World War II. He married Lois Wilson and they had four daughters.

Services will be held at Tuesday at United Church of Los Alamos.

Search Underway For Missing Climber Near Aspen – Aspen Times, Denver Post, Associated Press

A search is continuing for a 49-year-old New Mexico man who is overdue from a climb in the Maroon Bells area near Aspen.

The Aspen Times reports David Cook, of Albuquerque, was planning to climb Pyramid Peak on Sept. 19 and Maroon and North Maroon peaks the following day. Pitkin County sheriff's officials say someone alerted them Tuesday night that Cook was overdue.

Investigators found a receipt in Cook's car indicating that he arrived at the Maroon Bells entrance station at 11 a.m. A search was not immediately started because it seemed plausible that the man's climbing plans had been delayed because of his late arrival at the Maroon Bells.

An aerial search was launched Thursday morning but was hampered at times by bad weather.

The Denver Post reports Cook is a former Marine who has backcountry experience.

Navajo Nation Approves Funds For Fire Stations Daily Times, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation Council has approved funding to pay San Juan County for fire services.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports that delegates have voted in favor of transferring more than $417,000 from the tribe's Department of Fire and Rescue Services' personnel and fringe benefits account to the department's operations account to help pay for fire and rescue services in Shiprock, Newcomb and Ojo Amarillo.

San Juan County will operate the stations in July, August and September. The tribe will assume operation of the stations in October.