The Las Cruces Police Department has reinforced its commitment to continue de-escalation training, according to the Second Semi-Annual Case Review Audit Report presented to Las Cruces City Council by the OIR Group, who is contracted by the City to independently audit the Police Department.
The audit report was presented to City Council at its Monday, Aug. 22 work session, in Council Chambers at City Hall, 700 N. Main St.
De-escalation training teaches police officers to slow things down, create space, ask open-ended questions, build a rapport with subjects, and hold off reaching for service weapons or less lethal devices. One of the biggest benefits of police de-escalation training is reducing the need for use of force by police officers, as well as officer-involved shootings.
Additionally, the audit report disclosed City police also have committed to training for welfare checks and domestic violence calls. OIR Group representatives told City Council the training was already well underway.
The audit report is available online by clicking here.
The scope of the OIR Group audit report was for LCPD Internal Affairs cases initiated, investigated, and closed from Dec. 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022. The OIR Group audit determined the cases were complete, objective, and thorough, and that appropriate actions were taken in response to the investigations. Of the cases reviewed, 11 were formal citizen complaints and five were initiated by Internal Affairs.
Additionally, at Monday’s work session, there was City Council consensus to continue exploring possibilities of reinstituting automated speed enforcement in some areas of the city. However, there were some Council members who preferred looking at other traffic calming programs and reviewing funding levels of those programs. Some City Councilors also suggested conducting a work session focusing on traffic safety.
Traffic enforcement cameras were used in Las Cruces for five years, from 2009 to 2014. Automated speed enforcement, also called photo radar or speed cameras, operate by recording a vehicle’s speed using radar or other instrumentation and take a photograph of the vehicle when it exceeds a threshold limit. Equipment can be at a fixed position or mobile.
In Monday’s work session presentation LCPD reported there have been 2,081 total crash reports filed and 1,227 traffic citations for speeding issued this year, through July 31.
City Council also received a progress report on Realize Las Cruces at Monday’s work session. In March 2021, the City entered into a contract with Freese and Nichols, Inc. to amend the City’s development codes, also known as Realize Las Cruces.
The two-year project consists of three phases. The first phase consisted of code user interviews, a virtual open house, and the gathering, review, and analysis of applicable codes and policies. The project is in the second phase, which is anticipated to continue to February 2023 and involves code and map development.
The third phase will consist of refinements and adoption of Realize Las Cruces and will be from February 2023 to May 2023. The Council was told a two-evening open house, for public hearings, is expected to be conducted in spring 2023.
Prior to the work session, City Council met at 11:30 a.m. Monday at City Hall for a Closed Meeting. The Council discussed pending litigation.