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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. Locally, Santa Fe passed an ordinance in October 2020 that bans the use of no knock warrants.
Pending Legislation: SB 227, introduced in January 2021, bans the use of no-knock warrants.
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments. Locally, the Albuquerque City Council voted to prohibit the Albuquerque Police Department from purchasing weaponized aircraft, grenade launchers, explosives and firearms of .50 caliber or higher from the federal government. The legislation also would prevent the city from taking military riot helmets and riot batons.
Military style training
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. HM3, a bill proposed in June 2020 to address the militarization of police training, was tabled until the January 2021 session.
Pending Legislation: SB 227 also mandates de-escalation training for all law enforcement officers.
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
In 2015, Governor Susana Martinez (R) signed House Bill 560 into law, requiring a criminal conviction to seize any assets.
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests.
Cost of misconduct
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering.
Objective justification for stops
In New Mexico, the Office of Attorney General maintains a detailed manual which bans pretextual stops. However, the current language is too ambiguous and does not ban stops based on movement or the area (in fact it says the officer should base it on observation which could be that it was a high crime area.)
Reporting stop details
New Mexico does not require officers to make detailed reporting of each stop by including race, gender, use of force, and presence of a firearm
Pending Legislation: SB 227, introduced in January 2021, would require mandate the reporting of the “age, sex, race and ethnicity of each
injured or deceased person involved" in a use of force incident.
Reckless civil rights violation
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct. HB 7 and SB 17, introduced in 2020, outline that the DA can "request that the attorney general select an assistant attorney general or appoint a district attorney from a different judicial district or a practicing member of the bar of this state as a special prosecutor to evaluate the matter for prosecution." Both bills died in committee.
Pending Legislation: SB 274, introduced in January 2021, establishes that "the department of public safety shall be the
default primary investigative agency charged with investigating
instances of peace officers using deadly force resulting in
great bodily harm or death and any other in-custody death. "
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity. However, the state passed legislation (HB5: NM Civil Rights Commission) which creates a commission that will "review policies and develop policy proposals for laws for the prohibition or limitation of the use of qualified immunity.
Pending Legislation: HB 4, introduced in January 2021, prohibits officers accused of misconduct from using a defense of qualified immunity.
Mental health response
New Mexico has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). At a local level, "The Albuquerque Community Safety department is restructuring thousands of calls on homelessness, addiction and mental health into the hands of trained professionals; keep officers focused on core police work and reform efforts."
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.
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