The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

Public Safety

Nature of incident: Bernalillo Police activity May 2007

—SUBMITTED BY FRED RADOSEVICH, CHIEF, BERNALILLO POLICE DEPARTMENT

The following are the monthly statistics for the Bernalillo Police Department for May 2007:

114 OFFENSE INCIDENT REPORTS:

• 9 domestic violence (assault)

• 7 burglaries

• 3 thefts

• 10 vandalism

• 9 DWI

107ARRESTS:

• 11 domestic violence

• 12 drug offenses

• 9 DWI

• 45 warrants

588 TRAFFIC CITATIONS:

• 158 speeding

• 31 stop sign

• 34 suspended/revoked

• 49 no insurance

• 54 seatbelt violations

34 CRASH REPORTS (ACCIDENTS):

• 16 on Highway 550

• 3 on Highway 313

To contact the Bernalillo Police Department, you may use the following numbers:

• Emergencies—911
• Non-emergency Dispatch—891-7226
• Police Records—771-5872
• Police Chief—771-5877
• Citizen Concern Line—771-5888

Signpost cartoon, c. Rudi Klimpert

Attorney General presents new clean government ideas

Attorney General Gary King began the legislative process this year of trying to root out government corruption by presenting several proposals to the Joint Interim Committee on Courts, Corrections, and Justice. The Attorney General expects the following ideas to be sponsored and formally presented to the 2008 New Mexico Legislature:

• Increase penalties for public corruption, including a provision that automatically disqualifies public officials from holding office after conviction.

• Protect public employees from retaliation for reporting government corruption.

• Provide for Primary Jurisdiction for the Attorney General to prosecute statewide elected officials for crimes involving public corruption.

• Amend the Governmental Conduct Act to include local governments.

• In cases of corruption, change the law so that the statute of limitations begins when the crimes are investigated, not when they occurred.

“By presenting these proposals now, it is my intent to give legislators more time to consider them and ask questions of my office before the regular session begins next year,” says Attorney General King.

State Department eases passport requirements for western hemisphere travel

Due to a backlog of passport applications, the U.S. State Department has modified its requirement that began earlier this year that U.S. citizens present passports when flying to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda and returning to the U.S.

What is required, though, is proof that a traveler has applied for his or her passport. Through September 30, 2007, air passengers to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to show a government-issued photo identification and U.S. State Department official proof of application for a passport.

Passport applicants can visit the State Department website at www.state.gov where they will receive instructions about how to track their passport application and print out a form which will contain a unique “locator number.” This printout must be used to depart and return to the United States.

As of January 2008, all American cruise and driving passengers traveling to any country outside the U.S. will be required to carry a passport in order to re-enter the U.S.

Passport applications are available at any AAA New Mexico office or a U.S. Post Office, and can also be downloaded at the State Department’s website, www.state.gov. Citizens who wish to either renew or apply for a new passport must submit passport photos with their application.

First-time passports cost $82 for citizens less than sixteen years of age, and $97 for those sixteen years old and older. Passport renewal costs $67. For an additional fee, there are services to expedite passport applications and reduce the processing time to four weeks or less.

First-time applicants for a passport, or those with expired or lost passports, must submit their application in person to a passport processing location such as a post office during the hours that service is available. Non-expired passports can be renewed by mail by sending the application, the most recent passport, and two identical passport photographs to the State Department.

National Guard suffers at home as equipment goes overseas

—LAURA ONSTOT, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
Staff Sgt. Daniel Dierickx completed three tours of duty in Iraq with the Air National Guard by the age of 23. Back home in Klamath, Ore., he is working toward a degree in aeronautical science. He continues training for the National Guard, but the equipment he has to use seems better suited for a tour in Korea or Vietnam.

Instead of training with the heavier body armor worn by troops today in the Middle East, Dierickx wears a flak vest from Vietnam. Instead of modern air radar systems, he uses a radar with components dating back to the early 1950s.

Increasingly, the newer equipment is kept in the combat zones—particularly Iraq and Afghanistan—leaving the outdated equipment at home for training the troops. Though the problem plagues the whole country, some Western states have been hit especially hard: New Mexico is the most ill-equipped state in the country.

Since September 11, 2001, about 180,000 Guard troops have served in Iraq or Afghanistan; 479 of them have died in those countries.

A January 2007 report by the federal Government Accountability Office found that all 50 states are short the amount of equipment needed for missions at home and abroad. New Mexico has the largest shortfall at 66.2 percent.

“The National Guard is being forced to survive on Army hand-me-downs,” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, D, said in an April news release. “This is hard in peacetime and impossible when we are at war. The National Guard is being treated as second-class soldiers, and that is simply wrong.”

If competing state and international missions weren’t enough, the Guard has other responsibilities, including border security. By the end of September 2006, 5,252 personnel had been deployed to the Southwestern border.

This article originally appeared in High Country News (www.hcn.org), which covers the West's communities and natural-resource issues from Paonia, Colorado.

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