Albuquerque Police Close To 1,000 Officers, CIA Intelligence Officer To Work At UNM

Jun 18, 2019

Albuquerque Police Department Roster Nears 1,000 OfficersAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Albuquerque police are expected to number nearly 1,000 in the next few months after the department added 116 officers over the past year.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that about two-thirds of the new officers are already on duty, and the rest are expected to be on the streets by the end of the summer.

City officials have been working to boost staffing after the department's roster dropped to 821 officers in 2016. It had 983 officers in 2013.

The department is budgeted for 1,053 officers in the next fiscal year.

Albuquerque Deputy Police Chief Harold Medina says most of the new officers have been hired from other agencies, including the Santa Fe Police Department, the Rio Rancho Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office.

Parents Of New Mexico Teen Charged For Not Locking Up GunAssociated Press

Authorities say the parents of a teenager accused of firing a gun at a New Mexico high school failed to lock up their firearm despite knowing their son had made threats to "shoot up the school."

The couple is facing a charge contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A criminal complaint was filed this week in Sandoval County Magistrate Court.

Police have said the 16-year-old opened fire inside a high school in Rio Rancho, a suburb Albuquerque, in February before leaving the gun behind and running from the scene. No one was hurt.

The Associated Press is not naming the V. Sue Cleveland High School student because of his age. He is facing charges of attempting to commit murder and unlawfully carrying a deadly weapon onto school grounds.

Pup Fostering Gives Genetic Boost To Wild Mexican Wolves - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

A dozen Mexican gray wolf pups are being raised by wild packs in Arizona and New Mexico as biologists mark another season of playing matchmaker to bolster the genetics of the endangered species.

The foster program involves placing captive-born wolves into the dens of established packs as part of an ongoing effort to return the wolves to their historic range in the American Southwest.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Maggie Dwire says this marks the most pups to be fostered in a single season since the technique was first used in 2014.

A zoo in Kansas and breeding programs operated by conservation centers in Missouri and New York helped this year.

For fostering to work, the timing has to be just right. The pups are usually less than two weeks old when they're placed with a surrogate pack.

Las Cruces Police ID Man Killed In Shootout With AuthoritiesAssociated Press

Police in Las Cruces say they've identified a man who was killed in an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement officers.

Police say 35-year-old Francisco "Paco" Tarin was pronounced dead at the scene of Monday's incident.

Tarin, who lived in Las Cruces and Roswell, allegedly shot at a marked Las Cruces police unit.

He then allegedly shot at several officers who were attempting to take him into custody.

Officers from four law enforcement agencies returned fire at Tarin, who was hit multiple times.

Authorities say two Las Cruces police officers and a Doña Ana County Sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries in the shootout.

They say the handgun Tarin allegedly used was recovered by police.

Ex-New Mexico Jail Guard Accused Of Sex With Inmate Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

A former corrections officer in southeastern New Mexico is facing charges after authorities say she had sex with an inmate.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Amelia Alvarado was arrested Thursday and charged with criminal sexual penetration following a statement by a male inmate at the Lea County Detention Center.

According to a criminal complaint, the inmate said he impregnated Alvarado while in the Lea County jail, resulting in a baby girl. He reported he had had sex with Alvarado three times at the jail while she worked as a Lea County corrections officer.

Police said the relationship between Alvarado and the inmate continued long after he was moved from the Lea County Detention Center to Otero County to Santa Fe correctional facilities.

It was not known if Alvarado had an attorney.

Governor Appoints Former Judge To State Ethic CommissionAssociated Press

A professional mediator in civil and commercial court cases has been named to serve on New Mexico's fledgling state Ethics Commission.

Former state district court judge William Lang was appointed Tuesday by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve on the commission when it convenes next year to consider ethics complaints against public officials, lobbyists and public contractors.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the commission in 2018 elections in the wake of a series of high profile corruption scandals involving public officials.

Criminal matters will continue to fall under the authority of state and local prosecutors.

Four members of the commission are appointed by leading state legislators from the Republican and Democratic parties.

Latino Group Names New Director For New Mexico ChapterAssociated Press

The head of development and external affairs at New Mexico State University Alamogordo has been named state director of the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens.

The university announced Juan Garcia's selection Monday.

Garcia says he began working with LULAC two decades ago after the organization awarded him a scholarship that allowed him to buy books and pay tuition.

Since then, he has served as a president of local councils, national vice president for young adults and a district director in New Mexico.

In his new position, he will work to advance the educational opportunities for Latinos in New Mexico. He says he'll be looking to create new programs and scholarships.

Founded in 1929, LULAC is the oldest Hispanic civil rights group in the U.S.

CIA Intelligence Officer To Work At University Of New MexicoAssociated Press

A CIA intelligence officer will be working at the University of New Mexico's campus, and will carry a teaching or research load comparable to faculty colleagues, according to a new agreement.

The CIA officer is scheduled to arrive at the university in August as part of an ongoing relationship between the agency and the school—despite protests from students in previous years, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Under a new contract between UNM and the CIA, the officer will participate in the academic life of the university just like other professors.

UNM President Garnett Stokes also recently decided to keep the school involved in a CIA recruiting program, according to the agreements.

GAO To Probe Interior Plans For Lands Cut From Utah Monument—Associated Press

A government watchdog will investigate whether the U.S. Interior Department broke the law by making plans to open up former monument lands in Utah to oil, gas and coal development.

New Mexico’s Sen. Tom Udall said Monday that the Government Accountability Office informed him last week that it has agreed to his request to look into whether the Interior Department violated the appropriations law.

The department used funds to assess potential resource extraction in the lands cut from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by President Donald Trump.

GAO spokesman Charles Young confirmed the inquiry. President Bill Clinton created the monument in 1996. Trump downsized it by nearly half in 2017.

Deadline Arrives For Clergy Abuse Claims In New MexicoAssociated Press

Monday, June 17, was the deadline for filing sexual abuse claims, as New Mexico's largest Roman Catholic diocese wades through bankruptcy proceedings.

Lawyers for the hundreds of people who will be submitting forms are hopeful the proceedings will shed more light on the decades-old scandal.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe filed for bankruptcy in 2018, with Archbishop John Wester saying it was the equitable thing to do as church reserves dwindled.

The archdiocese has said $52 million in insurance money and its own funds have gone to settling 300 claims over the years.

Officials expect to make public this week the total number of claims filed as part of the bankruptcy case.

Wester issued a request for prayers on Friday, acknowledging the need for emotional and spiritual healing.

APS Homeless Project Missing MoneyAlbuquerque Journal, KOAT

A program that supports students experiencing homelessness in the Albuquerque Public Schools district was missing more than $4,000 in donations, according to news reports, and the director has been terminated.

The Title I Homeless Project offers thousands of APS students gift cards, uniforms, food, school supplies and tutoring. In May, employees there discovered $1,600 in an office safe, according to KOAT, and so went to school police.

At a news conference yesterday, the district said an investigation revealed thousands in cash missing—money that had been donated by Presbyterian Hospital.

Director Anthony Fairley was fired. He’d been with APS in a variety of jobs for 14 years. He had not yet been reached for comment by any news organization as of Tuesday morning.

A criminal investigation is underway, and APS is evaluating how the Homeless Project tracks money.

Report Says Childhood Poverty Persists In Fast-Growing Southwest—Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A report on childhood well-being shows improved overall chances for U.S. children to thrive based on broad measures of economic circumstances, education and community support.

Released yesterday, the annual Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation also finds that the number of children living in poverty has swelled over the past three decades in fast-growing, ethnically diverse states like Texas, Arizona and Nevada, as the nation's population center shifts south and west.

In the state rankings for child well-being, New Mexico still comes in last at number 50, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

But overall, about 18 percent of the nation's children live in poverty, down from 22 percent in 2010 during the recession.

Since 1990, however, the national rate of childhood poverty has remained unchanged, as the number of impoverished kids swelled in border and Southwest states.