tips from Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade
—SANDY ESCARCIDA, ASSISTANT CHIEF FOR EMS, P. V.
Everyone hopes that a medical emergency will never occur in their
home. But emergencies do happen, and it is important that you know
what to do. When an emergency occurs, call 911. Stay calm; be prepared
to tell what has happened, where it happened, and your phone number.
Stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you to hang up. Remember,
you can make a difference when seconds count.
What you do before an emergency is just as important as what you
do during an emergency. Prepare yourself by posting emergency telephone
numbers for your area on each phone.
A form called “Emergency Medical Information” is available
from the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade (PVFB), and it is a concise
way to list a patient’s medications, doctors, allergies, and
illnesses. This form will provide a wealth of information for emergency
responders, should the patient be unable to convey the information.
Keep the information current and post it in a conspicuous place
such as on the refrigerator door.
Make sure your house numbers are clear and visible from the street.
The red tags issued by PVFB are the easiest to see on a dark night.
If you need emergency services at night, turn on the outside lights
to help EMS responders find your location. If you can post someone
at the bottom of the driveway to guide the rescue vehicles in, please
While driving, it is important to keep your ears and eyes open
for rescue vehicles. When you hear the siren of a rescue vehicle,
do not stop suddenly. Change lanes to move out of the way on a multi-lane
road, as the emergency vehicle will try and stay in the same lane.
Pull over to the right when it is safe, and allow the emergency
vehicle to pass. Never follow an emergency vehicle through an intersection
against red lights.
This public service announcement is brought to you by your local
EMS provider, Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade, and EMS Region III.
Scorecard shows New Mexico lacks common-sense
—THE BRADY CAMPAIGN
Officials in New Mexico have done little to keep criminals and
other dangerous people from easily obtaining guns, according to
the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The newly redesigned
scorecards were released in February 2008 for all fifty states.
New Mexico earned just six points out of a total of one hundred.
The Brady Scorecards are designed so that states can score up to
one hundred points across five major categories of laws: curbing
firearm trafficking; strengthening Brady background checks; child
safety; banning military-style assault weapons; and making it harder
to carry guns in public places. The national state-by-state scores
are available in complete category-by-category detail at www.bradycampaign.org.
The Brady Campaign scorecards provide a new and redesigned analysis
of whether states are enacting the laws needed to protect citizens
from gun violence. The new scorecards also show states how their
gun laws can be strengthened and their scores improved.
New Mexico scored zero in all categories and just six out of 10
points for its efforts to keep guns out of public places.
As the nation’s largest non-partisan, grassroots organization
leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with
its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact
and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies.
The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun
violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work,
and in our communities.
For continuing insight and comment on the gun issue, read Paul
Helmke’s blog at www.bradycampaign.org/blog.
Visit the Brady Campaign website at www.bradycampaign.org.
Thirteenth Judicial District gears up for new
Mental Health Court program
Following a national trend, the Thirteenth Judicial District Court
in Sandoval County is moving in a new direction by creating a Mental
Health Court program. The program is focused on providing services
to individuals who suffer from mental illness and, as a result,
find themselves in and out of the criminal justice system on a frequent
basis. The intended impact of the Mental Health Court program is
to stop the “revolving door” effect that has developed
for these individuals by recognizing the underlying cause of their
contact with the system and linking them with appropriate services
in the community rather than leaving them behind bars.
Individuals with severe, persistent mental illness (SPMI) are commonly
arrested for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges, often “lifestyle”
offenses, and tend to remain in jail longer that the general population,
due to their inability to post bond or provide a stable living arrangement
and sufficient ties to the community, rendering them ineligible
for traditional forms of release. The Mental Health Court program
provides an alternative form of release for individuals with SPMI
by identifying them soon after arrest, assessing them for eligibility,
and recommending a treatment plan. Individuals identified through
this jail diversion program and who choose to enroll in the program
will be released by the Court conditioned upon their compliance
with their treatment plan.
In addition to providing access to traditional treatment, such
as medication and counseling services, the program will assist participants
in accessing other support services, such as housing, transportation,
benefits, and other social services in the community. Participants’
compliance with and the progress in their treatment plan will be
closely monitored by program staff and overseen by the Mental Health
Court judge. The Sandoval County program will join the First and
Second Judicial Districts as the first Mental Health Court programs
in the State of New Mexico.
State Representative Jane Powdrell-Culbert (R-Sandoval County)
secured $80,000 during the 2007 legislative session for the District
to begin planning and implementing the program.
A group of various stakeholders, headed by District Court Judge
John F. Davis, met for the first time on Thursday, December 13,
2007 at the Sandoval County Judicial Complex to discuss program
goals, policies, and procedures, and will continue to meet the second
Thursday of each month to further develop the program. The Mental
Health Court will begin accepting its first participants in the
fall of 2008. The Thirteenth Judicial District intends to eventually
secure the funding needed to implement similar courts in Cibola
and Valencia Counties.
For more information regarding this important initiative, contact
Gregory T. Ireland, Court Administrator, PO Box 1089, Los Lunas,
NM 87021, by telephone at (505) 865-4291, ext. 2122, or by email
A venomous Canebrake rattlesnake
Snake collector killed by snake
—NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND FISH
In February, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officers removed
179 snakes, eighty-four of them venomous, from the residence of
a Deming man who died Tuesday after having been bitten by a rattlesnake
he kept in his house.
A canebrake rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus atricaudatus) bit James
D. Bear, thirty-seven, on his right thumb Thursday, January 24,
while he was alone in his three-bedroom mobile home, where he kept
and bred the snakes in various containers. He died at 11:49 a.m.
the following Tuesday at El Paso’s Thomason Hospital.
Deming police called Game and Fish to Bear’s mobile home
shortly after Bear was bitten to assist with the snakes and to determine
whether any state or federal laws had been broken. An investigation
indicated that Bear did not have the necessary permits to possess,
obtain, or sell the snakes. Officers confiscated the snakes and
materials relating to their transportation and sale January 30 on
a warrant issued by Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Gary Jeffreys.
The confiscated snakes of various species were turned over to friends
of Bear, who said they planned to take the reptiles to Texas, where
they would be kept on behalf of Bear’s wife, Danielle Plantz,
and their three young children.
It is illegal to import any live animals, birds, or fish into New
Mexico without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Game
and Fish. Other regulations apply to venomous snakes and the collection
or sales of any wild animals.
“It is important that we carefully control any species that
we bring into our state, for public safety and to protect our native
game animals, birds, and fish against infectious or contagious diseases,”
Department Chief of Law Enforcement Dan Brooks said.
The department currently is reviewing the rules concerning the
importation, possession, and sales of wild animals, birds, and fish.
Information about the rules and an opportunity to comment about
them and offer suggestions is available on the department website,
Click on “Public comments.”
For more information about wildlife importation rules and permits,
call the Department of Game and Fish Law Enforcement Division at
A good session for New Mexico
—GARY K. KING, NEW MEXICO ATTORNEY GENERAL
Before being elected your state Attorney General, I served in the
legislature for twelve years. An important lesson I learned during
that time was that getting legislation passed and enacted into law
is an often complicated and lengthy process. With that lesson in
mind, I am assured that my legislative agenda as Attorney General
for the 2008 legislature was a successful one and the results will
benefit New Mexico in a number of ways.
Many of you may remember that my number one priority for this session
was to get a law passed that would make it a crime to engage in
the practice of human trafficking. SB 71, sponsored by Senator Mary
Jane Garcia, creates such an offense for the first time in New Mexico.
With the Senator’s help and influence, we were able to move
ahead with this landmark legislation that finally brings our state
in step with surrounding Southwest states that have already made
human slavery a crime. When the Governor affixes his expected signature,
the bill will officially create a new criminal offense known as
human trafficking, making it a felony to use force, fraud, or coercion
to subject a person to labor, servitude, or commercial sexual activity.
It also makes it a crime to benefit financially from such activity.
SB 71 also provides for enhanced penalties when children are victims
and establishes a task force to monitor human trafficking.
The immediate effect of this law, when enacted, will be to prevent
New Mexico from potentially becoming a corridor for human trafficking.
And with the continued support and collaboration of State of Chihuahua
Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez and other Mexican states,
we have a united front on both sides of the border to combat this
In the area of domestic violence, I am happy to report the passage
of certain bills in our legislative package. HB 337, sponsored by
Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, clarifies that a prosecutor or law
enforcement official cannot ask or require a victim of a sexual
offense to take a polygraph (lie detector) test as a condition of
investigating or charging such a crime. HB 227, sponsored by Representative
Rhonda King, clarifies that a victim of domestic abuse, stalking,
or sexual assault does not have to pay fees associated with the
process of prosecution; amends the definition of domestic abuse
to include an incident of stalking or sexual assault, whether committed
by a household member or not; clarifies self-defense and mutual
orders of protection; and prohibits making information available
on the Internet that would reveal the identity or location of the
protected party. Passage of these two important domestic violence
bills helps assure that New Mexico will be qualified to receive
grant money under the federal Violence Against Women Act.
In the continuing fight against DWI, HB 100, sponsored by Representative
Ken Martinez, closes a loophole to create misdemeanor penalties
for tampering with an ignition interlock device.
Under consumer legislation, HB 199, sponsored by Speaker of the
House Ben Lujan, amends the Construction Industries Licensing Act
to require contractors to carry a $10,000 bond. This can be drawn
upon by the consumer through the Construction Industries Division
for code violations not corrected by the licensed contractor.
Last but not least is the passage of SB 281, the Sale of Recycled
Metals Act. Sponsored by Senator Phil Griego, the bill creates a
new act to regulate the sale of recycled aluminum, bronze, copper,
brass, or steel. When signed into law, it will require a registry
and provide for penalties for violations.
As with any legislative session, a number of good and needed measures
were left on the table. It is especially so during the short thirty-day
session. But rather than complain about what didn’t get done,
I prefer to celebrate the good things that were accomplished. For
me and my staff, it just means we will have more time to re-work
and fine-tune our legislative agenda for the next legislature.