New Mexico sent state police officers to patrol Albuquerque in May after a UNM athlete was shot and killed. Residents in some communities here raised concerns about over-policing and said their neighborhoods were being targeted. Officials said the state officers would be staying until around the Fourth of July. But as that exit date approaches next week, state police don’t have any idea about when they’ll be leaving.
The Albuquerque Police Department sent out a news release Monday, June 24, saying the operation was winding down, and the extra 25 state police officers still patrolling Albuquerque would become less of a presence. State police spokesperson Lt. Mark Soriano said the ‘metro surge’ has been a success, but he can’t offer plans or estimates about when it will be over.
"The comments that we’re getting from the general public—you measure that from the general public—and our officers are out, and our officers are being stopped at local restaurants while they’re on patrol, thanking them for being in the area to deter crime," he said. "That’s how it’s being measured."
Since mid-May, state police patrolling the Southside of Albuquerque have stopped vehicles or questioned people almost 12,000 times, according to Soriano, and issued about 850 traffic tickets.
Officials said the goal for the operation was to slow a violent crime wave sweeping the city. Of the 600 arrests state officers made, one-third were for felonies, and the rest were for misdemeanors.