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Governor signs public safety accountability bill
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation Wednesday requiring New Mexico police officers to wear body cameras as a deterrent against unlawful use of force and establishing strengthened accountability measures in instances of inappropriate excessive force.
The camera requirement applies to city police, county sheriff’s agencies as well as state police and the Department of Public Safety.
Law enforcement agencies must maintain the body camera footage for at least 120 days. Police who interfere with the devices or otherwise flout the camera requirement could face penalties for withholding evidence.
In addition, Senate Bill 8 establishes that the Law Enforcement Academy Board will now permanently revoke the certification of any police officer who is found guilty, pleads guilty or pleads no contest to a crime involving unlawful use or threatened use of force in the line of duty, or if he or she failed to intervene in a police action involving unlawful use of force.
The measure sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes passed the Senate 31-11 and the House 44-26 in the June special session, which centered primarily on repairing a $2 billion hole in the state’s COVID-damaged budget. The governor added the policing legislation to the agenda following the May 25 murder of George Floyd, who died while pleading for breath as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
Senate Bill 8 pairs with another bill signed by the governor after the special session establishing a state Civil Rights Commission, which will provide recommendations to the Legislature about other public safety reform as well as qualified immunity.
2020 Summer Recreation Program participants selected
The City of Las Cruces Parks & Recreation Department’s Summer Recreation Program lottery draw has selected the individuals who registered for the program and can be located at, http://las-cruces.org/1906/Summer-Recreation-Program.
These are the locations that will be providing programming:
Henry R. Benavidez Community Center
East Mesa Recreation Center
Frank O’Brien Papen Community Center
Meerscheidt Recreation Center
Any available remaining spots will be open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at noon Monday, July 13, 2020. Due to the limited number of spots available this summer and with the State of New Mexico Governor’s Executive Orders, signups for these spots will be only available online at http://las-cruces.org/31/Play and click Online Registration.
Program begins Wednesday, July 15 thru Friday, August 7, 2020. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will be provided through the Summer Food Service Program, sponsored by FYI, Inc. The program and activities will follow the Governor’s guidelines on social distancing. Masks must be worn during the camp and hand washing stations will be provided.
For information, call the Parks and Recreation Administrative office, 575-541-2550.
Is Summer Heat Affecting You?
Running barefoot from scorching asphalt to cool grass in the summertime exemplifies how cityscapes tend to get much warmer than green spaces, but summer heat can be dangerous, too. The City of Las Cruces Sustainability office wants to learn how higher temperatures are affecting the community’s comfort outside and in the home. The City’s Sustainability Office encourages residents to complete A Summer Heat Survey, or call 575/541-2177 to request a paper copy of the survey. As an added incentive, respondents will have an opportunity to enter a drawing, presented by the Green Chamber of Commerce, for $10 gift cards.
“Extreme heat can have serious health impacts, and buildings and pavement increase its threat, making some parts of cities up to 20°F hotter than other parts. We want everyone to be safe,” said Lisa LaRocque, Sustainability Officer. “The survey is the first step to engage a broad variety of stakeholders to find the most effective solutions such as encouraging cool reflective surfaces and roofs; adding more trees for shade and landscape supported by harvested stormwater; and engaging in urban design to increase natural airflow through hot neighborhoods,” LaRocque added.
As part of this study, the City of Las Cruces is also partnering with New Mexico State University (NMSU) Climate Center, who will be collecting air temperatures throughout the city this week.
For questions or a mail-in survey option, leave a message for Lisa at 575/541-2177.
Para preguntas o una opción de encuesta por red, Una Encuesta de Calor de Verano, o por correo deje un mensaje para Lisa al 575/541-2177.
Brighter future fund awards money to Jardin de Los Niños
Today, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s Brighter Future Fund awarded $50,000 to six New Mexico non-profit organizations in support of efforts to increase economic opportunities and fight hunger. The six organizations serve ten counties across New Mexico.
Since December 2019, the Brighter Future Fund has awarded $155,000 to organizations in every corner of New Mexico. These awards are the third installment of a $200,000 commitment this year to invest in efforts to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, increase economic opportunity, and reduce hunger in communities across New Mexico.
The six organizations receiving awards in this round are: CLN Kids, $10,000 to support efforts to reduce hunger; Community Learning Network, $10,000 to increase economic opportunities; Desert Forge Foundation, $10,000 to increase economic opportunities; Flower Hill Institute, $5,000 to increase economic opportunities; Gallup Main Street, $10,000 to increase economic opportunities; and Jardin de los Ninos, $5,000 to reduce hunger.
“This funding will be utilized to support the families that we serve to meet their basic needs, and we are extremely grateful for it,” said Michelle Adames, Ph.D., Executive Director of Jardin de Los Niños in Las Cruces. “The goal of this project is to make sure that children have food and nutritious meals over the weekend and holidays when the school is closed. The impact we’ve seen is that children are more alert, attendance rates increase, and after children return from the weekend, we can quickly begin the learning process. Beyond that, a decreasing food insecurity supports social-emotional learning and development.”