Veterans of Foreign Wars candidates’ forum moderator Ed McDaris, right, greets Municipal Court Judge Alan Kirk Monday evening. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Seeking his sixth term in office, Los Alamos Municipal Judge Alan Kirk told voters Monday evening at the Veterans of Foreign War candidates forum that he grew up in Los Alamos and have been involved in criminal justice in Los Alamos for more than 40 years.
Kirk said he loves the community and loves working in the challenges that we have here.
“Keeping my interest is supporting our youth the best we can and I’ve done that through collaboration throughout the County with numerous organizations and also putting together a court system that provides services not only to the citizens of Los Alamos but to the citizens of the region and also the courts involving magistrate court and district court,” Kirk said.
“We have established a municipal court that I don’t think compares to any municipal court in the state of New Mexico. We provide more services and more programs and more opportunities for alternative sentencing than are found anywhere else in the state,” he said.
Kirk said the Court has also established a teen court that has three levels of involvement.
“We have a peer diversion program. One of my goals in being involved in criminal justice was trying to prevent our youth from being engaged or referred in the criminal justice system. There are numerous studies out there that show that once you get into the criminal justice system the likelihood of reoffending and stating in that system is higher. So we have a diversion program that we put together in collaboration with the police department and CYFD,” he said.
Kirk said last year more than 40 young people were diverted, not to avoid charges, but to have charges and deal with sanctions locally. He said in the past, before he was on the bench, Los Alamos youth were being taken to Santa Fe and Espanola for their services.
“Our priority in establishing the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and a few of our organizations was to bring our kids back and I think we have done a very good job of doing that,” he said. “We’ve established a probation program that provides alternative supervision. Our probation program has two aspects to it. One, it serves as a post communication or post trial sanctions as far as working with individuals that have been convicted of a crime and they work with making sure those sanctions are completed.”
Kirk also addressed the difficulties judges are having throughout the state involving the bond and bail situation that he said was thrust upon the judges a year ago.
“I’ve sat down and worked with magistrate court and district court and we knew the rules were coming so what we’ve put into place is a pretrial supervision program under probation,” he said.
Kirk concluded by saying he has been involved in the community doing a lot of things, that he has taken leadership roles in a number of organizations including Leadership Los Alamos.
“I think I have a lot of experience. I have a lot more to give the community,” he said.