COUNTY, COURTS TEAM UP TO CRACK DOWN ON CODES VIOLATIONS

COUNTY, COURTS TEAM UP TO CRACK DOWN ON CODES VIOLATIONS

Presiding Magistrate Judge Oscar Frietze has pledged support from the magistrate courts as Doña Ana County embarks on a renewed effort to clean up the county through codes enforcement initiatives.

On March 1, Judge Frietze met with Doña Ana County Environmental Services Director Luis Morales to get an update of the county’s efforts thus far. Also attending the meeting was Magistrate Court Chief Clerk Tina Ross.

Morales told Frietze and Ross that community clean-ups orchestrated and supported in 2004 by Doña Ana County resulted in more than 1.5 million pounds of trash being collected and properly disposed of, using county resources in multiple communities.

In 2005, Morales said, the Environmental Department has begun an ambitious corridor beautification project designed to clean up all major arterials through the county. Working with the Planning Department and the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department, Environmental codes officers are issuing warnings and clean-up mandates to property owners along major thoroughfares.

The initiative, he said, includes crackdowns on junk cars, graffiti, solid and liquid waste dumping, overgrown weeds and other eyesores and hazards. In addition, investigative techniques are being employed at illegal dumpsites to identify those responsible for littering desert areas. Criminal complaints will be filed in association with many investigations.

Morales said Frietze pledged the full support of the magistrate courts when citations and codes violations cases are brought to trial. Frietze pledged that people found guilty of codes violations in the county will suffer court-imposed consequences commensurate with the crimes of which they are convicted.

Morales said the commitment by the courts ensures that the county’s environmental laws “will have the teeth they need to get peoples’ attention.”

Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229.