Interim State Police chief discusses how they’ve adapted enforcement over the past year

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A year of evolving public health orders has meant a year of adapting enforcement for policing agencies across the state.

"Obviously last year in March, when COVID hit. We were asked—and we did a lot of the cease and desist on businesses and so forth,” said Robert Thorton, interim NMSP Police Chief

New Mexico State Police was suddenly handed a new task when the pandemic hit—enforcing the state’s public health orders.

"Yeah it was difficult to manage. It was difficult for our department. We had to suspend trainings. There was a of other things as far community outreach projects,” Chief Thorton said. “We had teams and issues that we had said we had to cancel, but we had to adjust our protocols."

State Police received thousands of calls about public health order violations.

"We did the best we could to make sure we could to make sure we were being fair to the public and fair to the businesses and just trying to be consistent throughout,” Thorton said

Chief Thorton said they issued dozens of citations for non-compliance.

"It was just really tough,” he said. “We were stretched thin enough with the businesses and mass gatherings.”

Amid declining COVID cases and the vaccine rollout, State Police said they’re looking forward to the day when the pandemic is over.

“The sooner we can get this over with and be on the downside of it, is something I’m looking forward to. And I know our officers and our department look forward to, to get back to some sort of normalcy and focusing on the primary job we signed on to do,” Thorton said.