New Mexico

Sunland Park Police Department hires new officers, deputy chief

Sunland Park Police additions

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. - The Sunland Park Police Department has hired several new officers, including a new deputy chief.

During Tuesday's city council meeting, the department's new officers were introduced. Officers Christopher Loyd, Gerardo Reyes Jr., Joseph Means and Andres Morales took the Oath of Office. 

Deputy Chief, Mark Tarantino, who was formerly with the department, was also sworn in. It's the first time the department has a deputy chief.

"You have to give us a chance. We have to prove ourselves to them. We can't demand or command or demand respect. I will ask you to watch us and see if we're making a difference," Deputy Chief Mark Tarantino said. 

Tarantino was with the department for three years before leaving due to allegations of corruption against the former police chief and department. He tells Abc-7 he's back to help finish what he started.

"Now we have a leader that is moral, ethical professional and that's someone I can work for," Tarantino said.

Tarantino is referring to Chief Javier Guerra. Guerra is also new to the department. His term began in March.

"Right now we're having everybody working 12 hour shifts. And it's hard, so this is really going to be exciting, not only for the police department, but for us to provide even better security," Chief Guerra said.

Chief Guerra says the department is currently tacking an under reporting of crimes due to sweeping immigration raids.

"They think we're part of a deportation process. We're not," Guerra said.

With the addition of the new officers he wants to focus on community policing and establishing programs that will get officers on the streets.

"We want our guys to be part of the community. And I want the community to know that we are part of their community and we're here to help them," Guerra said.

Chief Guerra says since taking over he's noticed a change in morale but now he wants his officers to take that momentum and create the change the department needs. It's a change he says won't happen overnight.

"Give me a year, you'll see a different police department."


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