New Mexico State Police
|New Mexico State Police|
|Patch of the New Mexico State Police.|
|Formed||February 15, 1905|
|Employees||1,000 (as of 2004) |
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||State of New Mexico, United States|
|Size||121,665 square miles (315,110 km2)|
|Population||1,969,915 (2007 est.)|
|Legal jurisdiction||New Mexico|
|Headquarters||Santa Fe, New Mexico|
|State Police Officers||605 (as of 2010) |
|Civilians||490 (as of 2010) |
|Agency executive||Robert Shilling, Chief|
|Parent agency||New Mexico Department of Public Safety|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The New Mexico State Police is the state police agency for New Mexico, which has jurisdiction anywhere in the state. It was created to protect the lives, property and constitutional rights of people in New Mexico. The State Police is a division within the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
New Mexico Mounted Police
During the early days of New Mexico, there was only one official attempt at a statewide law enforcement agency. The New Mexico Mounted Police was established in 1905 by the 36th New Mexico Territorial Legislature. The state was still very much part of the old west then, and not everyone was pleased with the creation of a state police force. Various criminal elements and corrupt politicians tried to abolish the mounted police in 1913, but Governor McDonald vetoed this. Opponents of the force did, however, succeed in convincing the legislature to appropriate no money to fund the force. From 1913 through 1917, the governor's office found other ways to finance the mounted police from the state's general fund and employed them in a limited capacity.
World War I
During World War I, national security became a great concern, particularly in border states like New Mexico. The last time American soil was invaded by a foreign force was in 1916, when Mexican Revolution General Francisco "Pancho" Villa sacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico. The mounted police were reactivated and kept the border with Mexico secure, as well as provided general law enforcement services. For the next several years, the mounted police gained quite a reputation as an effective and professional police force, much to the disdain of the state's lawbreakers, who often had strong political ties in Santa Fe. Finally, on February 15, 1921 - almost sixteen years after its inception - the New Mexico Mounted Police was abolished.
New Mexico Motor Patrol
The advent of the automobile again highlighted the need for a statewide law enforcement agency. No other police force had jurisdictional authority to enforce laws throughout the state. In 1933, the New Mexico Motor Patrol was established, primarily to enforce traffic laws. The patrol had a civilian oversight board consisting of three members: Governor Arthur Seligman, Attorney General E.K. Neumann, and Highway Engineer Glenn D. Macy. The state of Texas had recently created their own motor patrol, and they detailed Captain Homer Garrison to conduct the first New Mexico Motor Patrol recruit school at St. Michael's College in Santa Fe. One hundred thirty-five men applied for the school; eighteen were selected to attend; and ten were finally chosen and commissioned as the first motor patrol officers. Each officer was issued a Harley Davidson motorcycle with siren, red light, and other accessories. One of the ten graduates, Earl Irish, was appointed as the Chief and was given a monthly salary of $150; Patrolmen made $125 monthly. Officers were allowed $10 per month to maintain their uniforms.
The Motor Patrol proved to be a great success and within a few months of its existence, had generated more than enough revenue to fund itself. A radio broadcasting system was set up that depended on a commercial radio station, KOB, in Albuquerque. Every week, officers would wire law enforcement matters to be disseminated to the chief in Santa Fe, who would see that KOB broadcast the information twice each day, except Sunday. In this way, motor patrol officers communicated information to each other such as descriptions of wanted suspects and stolen goods.
New Mexico State Police
By 1935, the need to expand the authority and responsibility of the motor patrol was widely recognized. The Twelfth State Legislature changed the name of the organization to the New Mexico State Police, and gave its officers full police powers to enforce all laws of the state and complete statewide jurisdiction. The authorized strength was raised to 30 officers; the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain were added; and salaries were increased. The uniform adopted in 1936 is still in use today, with the exception of the riding breeches and boots favored by motorcycle officers. Seven Chevrolet sedans were added to the department's fleet and a new headquarters building was designed and constructed at a cost of $19,000.
The New Mexico State Police is under the command of the Chief of the State Police. The Chief is appointed by the Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, with the approval of the New Mexico State Senate, and holds the rank of Colonel. The Chief is assisted by a Deputy Chief, who holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The Chief and Deputy Chief supervise a command staff of five Police Majors who serve as the Bureau Commanders of the State Police.
The Chief serves as the Deputy Secretary of Operations for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, the Department's third highest-ranking member.
NMSP headquarters is located at 4491 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, NM.
For operational purposes, the State Police divide New Mexico into 12 distinct Districts. Each district has a main office with a commanding officer who oversees day-to-day operations.
- District 1, Santa Fe
- District 2, Las Vegas
- District 3, Roswell
- District 4, Las Cruces
- District 5, Albuquerque
- District 6, Gallup
- District 7, Española
- District 8, Alamogordo
- District 9, Clovis
- District 10, Farmington
- District 11, Socorro
- District 12, Deming
- USDOJ Statistics
- 2007 Population Estimates
- Smith & Wesson advertisement in Sept. 2010 issue of Tactical Weapons magazine.