TRAINING PAYS OFF FOR DOÑA ANA COUNTY

TRAINING PAYS OFF FOR DOÑA ANA COUNTY

Doña Ana County, a member of the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC), has reduced its law enforcement and detention liability claim costs in the period between 2008 and 2010, resulting in a safer workplace for county employees and reduced losses to county taxpayers.

The significant decrease in liability claim costs follows upon an initiative by leaders in county law enforcement and detention to enhance personnel training and to improve the selection, retention and promotion of law enforcement and detention personnel.

As a result, the County has increased its trainings in high-risk subject areas, including trainings offered through NMAC’s Risk Awareness Program.

Paul Gutierrez, NMAC’s Executive Director, said that “Doña Ana county is seeing the benefit of furthering the training of its law enforcement and adult detention staff. Its investment will help the county to create safer, more efficient county operations and to prevent liability losses.”

By participating in NMAC’s Risk Awareness Program (RAP), Doña Ana County has increased the number and range of risk-related trainings it offers law enforcement and detention personnel. NMAC’s RAP program enhances safety awareness and best practices of county personnel by offering specialized safety training.

Doña Ana County’s RAP trainings in such risk areas as search and seizure, emergency vehicle operations, use of force, sexual harassment and discrimination law has greatly minimized its exposure to loss.

Sheriff Todd Garrison said that “we attribute our progress to targeted trainings, a commitment to safety and loss prevention, and a rigorous post-accident assessment process."

Detention Administrator Chris Barela agrees; “since 2005, the detention center has added new officer and support positions, contracted for medical and mental health services, and revamped our compensation plan. We have a more efficient, better trained staff, which makes our facilities a safer place for staff and inmates alike.”

Bruce Swingle, NMAC Loss Prevention Manager, added that “the strides Doña Ana County is making in professionalizing its law enforcement and detention personnel isn’t possible without the support of the county commission and management. Their commitment has been unwavering.”

Founded in 1968, the New Mexico Association of Counties is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization governed by New Mexico county elected officials. Its mission is to serve as a statewide voice for all counties in New Mexico. It accomplishes this by providing counties with legislative representation, general research, and training and assistance in developing and improving the administration and financing of county government.

NMAC operates three self- insurance pools on behalf of New Mexico counties, covering worker's compensation, multiline, and law enforcement coverage. Various publications and conferences assist county officials in carrying out the duties of their office. NMAC is an advocate for county government.

Please contact Paul Gutierrez at 505.250.7749 (pgutierrez@nmcounties.org) or Joy Esparsen at 505.577.0699 (jesparsen@nmcounties.org) for more information. For additional information, please visit the NMAC website at www.nmcounties.org.