DOÑA ANA COUNTY POISED TO ADD 20 DEPUTIES TO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT

DOÑA ANA COUNTY POISED TO ADD 20 DEPUTIES TO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT

The streets and byways of Doña Ana County will be safer soon, thanks to a grant from the federal COPS program that will bring 10 extra deputies to the county sheriff’s ranks. Coupled with the Doña Ana County Commission’s pledge to fund an additional 10 deputy’s positions independently, the net result will be 20 new officers on patrol within the next several months.
Sheriff James Robles announced the verification of the federal grant today, which will put 10 new deputies on the streets as early as next spring. He said he will meet with both the Republican and Democratic candidates for sheriff in the next several days to discuss how best to utilize the new deputies, whether in community policing programs, county-wide patrols or other applications.
The federal grant, Robles said, pays 75 percent of the deputies’ salaries in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and 25 percent in the third year, after which the county must absorb the full costs of keeping the positions filled. Robles estimated that each deputy would earn salary and benefits totaling about $30,000.
He said equipment – cars, bicycles, bullet-proof vests, etc. – to support the officers would have to come from separate grant applications, and he said that Patsy Manzanares, the county’s law-enforcement grant officer, would begin looking for grant funds immediately to meet those needs.
Robles said this is the second time in three years that Doña Ana County has successfully landed a COPS grant for 10 deputies. The deputies who came on board in 1996, he said, have been so successful in their community-policing programs in Anthony and Mesilla Park that a departmental FBI audit conducted in July of this year resulted in the federal recommendation for another grant cycle and 10 additional deputies in 1999.
Robles, who will stay on as county sheriff until Dec. 31, 1998, said he will work closely with the incoming sheriff to analyze the best possible placement of the new deputies. A new sheriff will be elected during the Nov. 3 elections.
“This is a great step forward for law enforcement in Doña Ana County,” Robles said. “With 20 new deputies coming on the force in a matter of months, the new sheriff will have a tremendous opportunity to make every community in the county safer as we continue to experience growth and battle crime in the area.”