Input From Law Enforcement Agencies Sought On Distribution Of $67 Million For Criminal Justice Reform

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY NEWS RELEASE

New Mexico’s Omnibus Crime Bill reserved more than $67 million for criminal justice reform efforts and for New Mexico law enforcement to train, recruit, and retain certified police officers, which was signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this year.

Law enforcement agencies are being asked for their input to determine how House Bill 68, the Omnibus Crime Bill, will be distributed via the Public Safety Survey. The survey was released today, July 19, by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and will be due Friday, August 5. New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) will manage the fund distribution.

“We need feedback on how to best utilize the $50 million,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Local law enforcement understands their communities’ requirements. They are most qualified to help us understand how the officer recruitment and retention funds and $17 million to other state government agencies should be distributed.

“This community investment will help prevent, interrupt and reduce violence and crime because the officers are familiar with their community, and can remain in place,” said Gov. Grisham.

This Public Safety Survey is the first step in addressing recruitment and retention of certified police officers, said Department of Public Safety Secretary Jason R. Bowie.

“We are a partner on the frontlines of the fight against crime,” said Bowie. “The Public Safety Survey will result in guidelines, programing, and confirm the needs of local law enforcement and their communities.”

In addition, the DPS is managing the Law Enforcement Retention Fund (LERF). Under Section 36 of the crime bill, an additional $5 million has been appropriated annually, through Fiscal Year 2027, to provide retention differential. The DPS is also seeking input on this funding via the Law Enforcement Retention Fund (LERF) survey, which is due on Friday, July 22, 2022.

“This extraordinary financial support is welcomed,” said Bowie. “This allows New Mexico to be competitive and recruit high caliber officers from out-of-state to New Mexico law enforcement. This will have a direct and positive impact on reducing crime.”

The retention fund provides a five percent retention differential for officers’ salary when certified law enforcement officers meet certain levels of employment tenure with their agency,” said Bowie.