Updated: December 12, 2019 08:10 AM
Created: December 11, 2019 10:23 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A new report reveals the arrest numbers from the Metro Surge, a New Mexico State Police operation that assigned officers to target violent crime in Albuquerque.
In two months, officers arrested 175 felons.
About 18% of those arrests led to a plea deal and another 16% are going through district court, either waiting for hearings or scheduled for trial.
However, in 36% of those cases, evidence was not turned over to prosecutors in time.
There was also problems with officers not showing up to court.
State Police Chief Tim Johnson said that’s unacceptable, even if officers may now be stationed hours away from Albuquerque.
“It's not an excuse for them not showing up for court,” Chief Johnson said. “We take responsibility for that. Once we looked into each one of those and we'll be holding folks accountable and I’m holding myself accountable as the leader of the organization.”
A local prosecutor said Bernalillo County has stricter evidence deadlines and that sometimes there are delays in tracking down reports and requesting that evidence.
Prosecutors work with State Police officers to refile those cases.
In other cases, it’s the suspect who skips out on court, which means the hearing has to be rescheduled and officers have to come back.
“We're pulling them from doing the jobs that they're doing the jobs in their communities back to Bernalillo County for a probable cause hearing. It would be easier if we had grand jury time to bring back just one officer for a hearing but in some of these instances, it required multiple officers to return so we're constantly having to accommodate people's schedule this isn’t out of the ordinary,” said Joseph Montaño, a prosecutor at the DA's office.
Despite the number of cases that have to be refiled, some residents are asking State Police to return to Albuquerque for round two.
Chief Johnson said he got a letter from residents asking them to do another operation.
Johnson said it is possible, but there is no timeline for when that will be.
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