Roswell Police Chief Phil Smith revealed to the City’s Police Committee, Monday evening, that current records indicate the police respond to or participate in 153.1 activities per day, or 6.3 activities per hour — in other words, one every 10 minutes. He defined activities as everything from traffic stops, responding to crimes, accidents and investigations, to taking victim reports. He also said police are averaging 15.8 arrests a day. Meanwhile, the city has 2.1 burglaries and 6.3 larcenies a day.
Smith said crime is up in every area, but noted that this statistic may be reflective of greater accuracy in recordkeeping due to the new computerized reporting system.
Smith announced the start of a new initiative with the return of the Street Crimes Unit, who will be working in cooperation with the Criminal Intelligence Department. The department consists of one captain, a sergeant and four officers.
He said that Roswell is receiving more assistance from New Mexico State Police and Chaves County Sheriff’s Office. “There’s a great team effort going on.”
Deputy Chief Brad McFadin told councilors that the police attorney had been very productive and had held training programs for officers.
Committee Chair Councilor Savino Sanchez asked if it might be possible to increase the lawyer’s hours, and City Administrator Larry Fry reported that the City Council was considering the RPD’s request of upgrading the post from part-time to full-time.
Personnel matters were a topic of conversation. “We have 94 people on the books, but we won’t have all of them with their feet on ground until June,” said Smith. One officer started at the RPD, Monday, meaning they are only four officers down. An additional two will be starting this week. Two will have completed the hiring process before the end of the week. A total of six are starting at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy on Jan. 20.
Meanwhile, transfers have taken place within the department.
Another officer has been placed in the Criminal Investigation Division with another officer assigned to the Drug Task Force. A third officer has been added to the School Resource group, for a total of three — one officer for Roswell High School, one for Goddard High School and one to float between schools whose responsibilities will include the middle schools.
The police have also hired three of four police service aides, an entry-level position where the individual provides services, which could be delayed due to workload saturation with sworn officers. Among other things, the PSAs will take non-injury accident, vandalism, missing persons and runaway reports and assist with traffic control at parades and at traffic accidents.