Portales Police Department applies for re-accreditation

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

When the Portales Police Department received state accreditation, it became the state’s first police department to do so.

Now, the department will be another first — the first to apply for re-accreditation through the New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Mexico Municipal League and the New Mexico Self Insurers’ Fund.

Portales Police Chief Jeff Gill told city councilors Tuesday night the department has had nothing but positive experiences with the accreditation, which required many new policy implementations and changes to existing policies. The goals were to improve law enforcement quality and lower the risk of injuries and lawsuits (leading to lower insurance premiums). Gill called the process work-intensive, but worthwhile.

“I anticipate having no problem with the re-accreditation process,” Gill said, “other than a lot of forms, a lot of paperwork.”

Gill had mostly postive reports during the council meeting, including an assurance that the city would soon have a Reverse 911 system in place and it would receive replacements for sirens, some of which date back to the 1960s.

“The combination of those two systems is really going to give you one of the best emergency systems in the state,” Gill said.

Gill laughed when he said he would withhold comment on the status of renovating the department’s animal shelter. The department is seeking bids to construct foundations and erect a metal building for the shelter, but the only bid received was for $422,220. The budget for the project, Capital Projects Manager Georgia Gonzales said, is $120,000. The bid was unanimously rejected, with the recommendation to inspect future bids and explain the high cost difference.

In other business:
• Mayor Orlando Ortega sought approval for a new award to recognize excellence in citizenship. The first recipients, Ortega said, are area residents who helped write the salute to the New Mexico state flag. A ceremony is being planned for Feb. 19.

• Approved taking $7,528 from the city’s special projects earmark to work on 22nd Street and the Foxtrails Addition. The roadwork, mainly resurfacing, will cost roughly $45,000, but much of the amount has already been supplied by Larry Combs, who is developing the Foxtrails Addition and previously agreed to shoulder a portion of renovation costs.

The special projects earmark includes $250,000 for various road projects.

• Gave approval for General Services Director Mike Parkey to negotiate an airport consultant contract.

• Approved the appointment and compensation for officials for the March 4 election.

• Ratified Ortega’s approval of a grant application by Fire Chief John Bridges for EMS funding. Ortega said he normally brings such matters to the council, but the deadline occurred before he could do so.

• Allowed a vacation of right-of-ways for Mark, Marla and Jolie Foster on lots they own near 325 W. 18th Street. The land will be used for the expansion of their storage business. The zoning commission recommended the approval of vacation provided the Fosters allowed a 20-foot easement along 20th Street for water lines, a stipulation the Fosters had no problem with.