Gov. Lujan Grisham orders targeted effort to apprehend violent suspects
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday ordered the creation of a team of New Mexico law enforcement officers to locate and arrest hundreds of fugitives charged with violent crimes.
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit, established through an executive order, will consist of at least seven state police officers and at least seven New Mexico Corrections Department staff members.
The Department of Public Safety secretary can also request that municipal police officers and county sheriff’s deputies join the unit as needed, according to the order, which specifies requisite authority must be obtained from those government agencies.
The New Mexico Administrative Office of the District Attorneys has identified more than 1,600 outstanding bench warrants for persons charged with violent crimes. A bench warrant is issued when someone charged with a crime fails to appear in court as ordered.
The unit is tasked with locating and arresting those individuals charged with violent crimes who have failed to appear for judicial proceedings or have outstanding bench warrants.
Unit members will confer with local law enforcement and judiciary officials to identify qualifying individuals and subsequently use “all available resources,” per the order, to locate and arrest those persons. In 2018, according to FBI data, New Mexico had the nation’s second-highest violent crime rate.
Public Safety Secretary Mark Shea, New Mexico State Police Chief Tim Johnson and unit members will make monthly reports to the governor documenting the unit’s efforts.
“Our justice system is undermined when people accused of serious criminal offenses evade prosecution,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We need to explore every avenue for increasing public safety in New Mexico; we need to be smart on crime while being tough on crime. By deploying these resources in a targeted fashion and continuing to work hand-in-hand with local jurisdictions, the state can make meaningful strides toward reducing crime in our communities and ensuring high-profile violent individuals are brought into the judicial process.”
The full executive order can be found here.