New Mexico

Doña Ana County sheriff cross-commissions Las Cruces police officers

Sheriff crosscommissions LCPD officers

Doña Ana County Sheriff Enrique "Kiki" Vigil cross-commissioned dozens of Las Cruces police officers on Thursday, meaning they will now be able enforce laws outside of city limits again.

"Everybody comes out ahead," Vigil said.

One hundred and eighty-seven officers in the city will be cross-commissioned. The officers can now cross city limits to investigate and make arrests without the permission of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office.

"Criminals don't necessarily honor jurisdictional boundaries," said Las Cruces Police Chief Patrick Gallagher. "They commit a crime in the city, they'll commit a crime in the county."

"It gives them the opportunity and the freedom to also go beyond the city of Las Cruces when they conduct investigations," Vigil said. "To conduct arrests on investigational cases they're doing."

Why weren't the officers cross-commissioned before?

Santa Fe County paid a $75,000 settlement when a cross-commissioned tribal police officer crossed onto county territory and was accused of assaulting a motorist, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. The county discontinued the practice unless that partner agency agrees to accept liability.

"Yes, that was one of the reasons why it was delayed," Vigil admitted.

Via a memorandum of agreement, the city of Las Cruces has agreed to accept liability for their officers in county territory.

"It is a huge public safety benefit for the residents of both Las Cruces and Doña Ana County," Gallagher said. "It's a force multiplier for both departments, if you would."

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