New Mexico State Police

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
New Mexico State Police
New Mexico State Police.jpg
Agency overview
FormedFebruary 15, 1905; 115 years ago (1905-02-15)
Preceding agencies
  • New Mexico Mounted Police (1905-1921)
  • New Mexico Motor Patrol (1933-1935)
Employees1,000 (as of 2004) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionNew Mexico, United States
Size121,665 square miles (315,110 km2)
Population1,969,915 (2007 est.)[2]
Legal jurisdictionNew Mexico
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersSanta Fe, New Mexico
State Police Officers605 (as of 2010) [3]
Civilians490 (as of 2010) [3]
Agency executive
  • Tim Q. Johnson [4], Chief
Parent agencyNew Mexico Department of Public Safety
NMSP Website

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.


World War I[edit]

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. In 1937, it was resurrected once again as a volunteer police organization. In 1941, New Mexico Governor John Miles made the volunteer police organization an official state law enforcement agency as it stands today called the New Mexico Mounted Patrol.

New Mexico Motor Patrol[edit]

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[edit]

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.


The service pistol of the NMSP was the Smith & Wesson M&P .357 until 2013 when they converted to the Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm.[5]


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. The Chief is assisted by two Deputy Chiefs. The Chief and Deputy Chiefs 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.

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
4 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Chief
3 Gold Stars.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
Senior Officer


NMSP headquarters is located at 4491 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, NM. This location also serves as the New Mexico Department of Public Safety's Headquarters. The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy is also housed at this location.


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

Senate Bill 95 DPS Reorganization Bill[edit]

On July 1, 2015 the Motor Transportation Police Division (MTD) and the Special Investigation Division (SID) were merged within the State Police Division per the legislative action. Officers and Agents are now commissioned as New Mexico State Police officers and were removed from the state's employee classified system into the exempt system. The State Police is currently in the process to figure the most efficient and fiscally responsible way to implement uniform, vehicle and policy changes for all commissioned officers. As of November 2015, the decision to change all DPS vehicles and uniforms to match the current State Police identity was issued by the chief. Larger districts such as Albuquerque and Las Cruces will see cars, uniforms and badges issued out to the field first.

As of early 2017 all uniforms, badges and most vehicles (older higher mileage units being phased out) have been replaced with the traditional New Mexico State Police identity.

Duties of the New Mexico State Police

All commissioned New Mexico State Police Officers are vested with full statewide criminal, traffic and other duties as delegated by New Mexico Statutes. The most common State Police officers that the public observe on a day to day basis are officers from the Uniform Bureau. NMSP has three distinct Bureaus each responsible for the overall NMSP mission but serve different capacities in the carrying out of the goals of the department. The Uniform Bureau is responsible for patrol related activities such as answering calls for service, traffic enforcement and many other field related duties.

The Investigations Bureau serves as the department's investigative body and can bring specialized resources and experience to more complex and felonious level crimes.

The Special Operations Bureau is responsible for tactical level type of resources and managing of internal processes to include Fleet and Special Projects. Many of the members of the different specialized teams are part time members that are activated for that particular type of mission. Some specialized teams such as TACT, EOD and K-9 have full time members that are assigned to the team.

Specialized Divisions/Bureaus of the New Mexico State Police include:

  • Tactical Team (Special Weapons and Tactics)
  • Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD)
  • Criminal Interdiction Unit (K-9 Narcotics and EOD/Patrol Working Dogs)
  • Investigations Bureau (Narcotics, Impact, Cold Case, Fugitive Apprehension Response Team)
  • Crime Scene
  • Pistol Team
  • Drone Team
  • Crash Reconstruction Unit
  • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement
  • Crisis Negotiation Team
  • Motors Team
  • Bicycle Team
  • Governors Protection Detail
  • NMSP Aviation Unit (Rotary and Fixed Wing)
  • DUI and Traffic Units
  • Research and Development
  • Internal Affairs
  • Special Projects
  • Community Engagement Unit
  • Fleet
  • Honor Guard
  • Search and Recovery Team (Dive Team)
  • Emergency Response Team (Riots, Public Order disturbances)

Fallen Officers[edit]

Twenty-seven officers have died in the line of duty.[6]

Officer Date of Death Details
Walter G. Taber
September 28, 1937
Motorcycle crash
Leslie Delbert Bugg
August 21, 1946
Motorcycle crash
William T. Speight
February 24, 1949
Heart attack
NAsh Phillip Garcia
April 11, 1952
Sgt John Carl "Jake" Ramsey
August 5, 1953
Automobile crash
Joe Taylor Aven, Jr
August 6, 1953
Automobile crash
Robert E. Lee
August 16, 1960
Automobile crash
Captain James Edward Clark
September 19, 1960
Struck by train
Bennie D. Williams
July 9, 1963
Automobile crash
Antonio Jaramillo
February 2, 1965
Struck by vehicle
Agent Robert Romero
September 30, 1967
Automobile crash
Robert Rosenbloom
November 8, 1971
David L. Coker
November 18, 1979
Richard Gomez
April 17, 1980
David M. Smith
August 6, 1984
Aircraft accident
Lowell D. Howard
August 6, 1984
Aircraft accident
Manuel Olivas
February 1, 1985
Vehicular assault
Sherman L. Toler, Jr
March 5, 1986
Wayne G. Allison
February 13, 1988
Aircraft accident
Glen Michael Huber
February 26, 1991
Lloyd R Aragon, Sr
August 1, 2001
Vehicular Assault
Ramon Robert Solis
October 19, 2001
Aircraft accident
Damon Talbot
October 19, 2001
Aircraft accident
James Andres Archuleta
June 4, 2006
Automobile crash
Christopher Mirabal
June 13, 2007
Motorcycle accident
Lt. Michael C. Avilucea
May 30, 2008
Automobile crash
Sgt. Andrew Francis Tingwall
June 11, 2009
Aircraft accident

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDOJ Statistics Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ 2007 Population Estimates Archived 2008-09-18 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2010-09-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Smith & Wesson advertisement in Sept. 2010 issue of Tactical Weapons magazine.
  6. ^ New Mexico State Police ODMP
  7. ^ Officer Garcia killing has been fictionalized into mythology. See The ethnic imagination: A case history (PDF File). For the true account see The Nash Garcia Criminal cause 16092

External links[edit]