Law enforcement summit aims to take action against gun violence in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Law enforcement leaders from across the state joined New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez Tuesday for a summit to come up with attainable solutions to address gun violence.

“If we’re going to solve the problem of gun violence, we need to start by talking to the people who know the most about gun violence, how the system is working, and more importantly, how the system is failing,” Torrez said.

Nearly two dozen sheriffs, district attorneys, and police chiefs had a chance to share their experiences and ideas.

“If you don’t have accountability for bad guys who are committing crimes, and wrecking our communities and hurting innocent people, if there is no accountability, there will be no improvement,” said Steve Hebbe, chief of the Farmington Police Department.

Hebbe says there’s been a long line of decisions over at least the past decade that got us here, and it’s time to start reversing some of them.

“We’re releasing dangerous people back out onto the streets, we’re not holding them accountable, and nobody seems in a big hurry to change that,” Hebbe said.

Leaders at the summit say it’s about time the law enforcement community gets a chance to help lead the legislative process.

“We have to have the hard questions, we have to have arguments, but we need to do it as a unified front to make sure that we’re all communicating,” Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said. “Because we’re all facing the same issues, no matter how big or small in our communities, or whether it’s just not gun violence.”

Allen says conversations about pretrial release, mental health services, and drug addiction services should all be front and center.

“They’ve been living this urgency for the better part of a decade, they had been asking for help,” Torrez said. “They have been asking for people to pay attention, and listen, and not be disregarded. For the better part of a decade. I don’t know if this year is going to be different. I hope it is.”

A rep for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement last week that the governor is looking for state leaders to step up and take bold steps to make New Mexicans safer.

KOB 4 asked the attorney general if this summit is proof of them doing that. He said everybody needs to be held accountable and responsible for the role they play in delivering positive change – and he hopes the governor will receive these proposed solutions in the same way they’re offered.