DPS lacks approval to digitize NM weapons records

July 17, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Public Safety has spent tens of thousands of dollars to digitize tons of paper records on concealed weapons licenses but doesn’t yet have required approval to implement its plan.

The State Records Center and Archives is waiting for the department to submit a plan for scanning the records, KRQE-TV ( ) reported.

“There’s a plan that needs to come through, and we haven’t [auth] received that plan yet,” said John Hyrum Martinez, state records administrator. “We’ve been waiting on it.”

The Department of Public Safety wants to reduce costs on storing records that it must keep for three years after a four-year license expires.

So far in 2013, the agency has issued more than 6,600 new and renewed concealed-weapon licenses.

The department spent $30,000 on four scanners and more to hire temporary workers to process the records.

Sgt. Suzanne Skasik, head of the concealed-weapons program, said DPS is working on its plan and she said she’s confident it will be approved by year’s end.

“(We bought) high-end scanners that were compatible with our database that were of a quality that produced electronic copies of such quality (that) hopefully would be approved by state records and archives at some point,” said Skasik said.

In the meantime, the department also has spent $22,000 on three shipping containers to store the paperwork.

“This was the best method we knew of to keep those records secure and have them on the property at headquarters without overtaking all the space at headquarters,” Skasik said.

Skasik said DPS is also looking at how concealed weapon programs work in other states, including those that allow residents to fill out paperwork online.

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