Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sheriff Greg Solano to Appear on MSNBC with Dan Abrams

I have just agreed to appear on MSNBC Live with Dan Abrams tonight at 7:40 New Mexico Time. I will be discussing the Robert Montoya DWI arrest which has garnered much national attention due to the heart wrenching dispatch tape where the 15 year old girl is frantic as she calls the Sheriff's Office on her own father. Tune in if you can!

O'Reilly Factor Video on Robert Montoya DWI Case

Here is a You Tube Video of the O'Reilly Factor Video which I mentioned in my last post. In the Video O'Reilly uses the D.W.I. Case to bash Governor Richardson and gives the case as a reason he is unfit for the Presidency.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

O'Reilly Factor Bashes Governor Richardson over D.W.I. Case

Tonight I watched the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, I usually do not watch anything on Fox News due to their usual biased reporting which I have talked about before. I watched it tonight because I knew they were doing a story on the 6th time D.W.I. arrest of Robert Montoya. If you have not read about Robert Montoya he was arrested on Saturday October 27, 2007 after his 15 year old daughter called 911 to report him driving drunk at 100 miles an hour while his two teenage daughters and one of their friends were in the car. The 911 tapes are horrible to listen to as you can hear the fear in his daughters voice as she pleads with him to stop the car. Below is KOAT TV's You Tube video of the 911 calls.

This case has been covered by many national news outlets and most local news. Inside Edition, Fox News, have covered the story and Good Morning America will cover it tomorrow morning. As usual Fox news twisted the story and used it to claim that Governor Bill Richardson has failed on D.W.I. in New Mexico and can't be a good president because he has not even been able to tackle D.W.I. in New Mexico. The only guest from New Mexico was Pat Frisch Program Director and sometimes Talk Show Host from ultra conservative republican radio station 770 AM KKob in Albuquerque. Pat Frisch is hardly qualified to speak with any credentials on the D.W.I. problem in New Mexico. Fox news staff was in contact with my office all day and I have a suspicion that they did not ask me or anyone with real knowledge of D.W.I. to come on air because they would not blame Governor Richardson for this incident as O'Reilly wanted to do. Before the show even completed I fired off this email to Bill O'Reilly.


I watched tonight your story on the sad arrest of Robert Montoya after the frantic call from his daughter as he raced down the highway while drunk. I was in contact with members of your staff all day and someone much more qualified than Pat Frisch who's only credentials in New Mexico is that he is a talk show host on a conservative radio talk show. Rather than talking about the real problems of repeat D.W.I. offenders you chose to capitalize on the suffering of the Montoya children and use this incident to attack Presidential candidate Governor Bill Richardson. While D.W.I. is a serious problem across the United States Governor Richardson has done more than years of previous governors including former Republican Governor Gary Johnson who as you know even tried to legalize drugs in New Mexico. Same usual twisting of news to suit the Fox Political Agenda.

Sheriff Greg Solano Santa Fe County 35 Camino Justicia

This is a sad case and I really feel for the 15 year old daughter who called in her own father. Usually repeat offenders get suspended sentences and with good time they spend little time in jail. Because of the publicity and the additional charges of Child Neglect Mr. Montoya will probably get a somewhat severe sentence. He deserves it and I hope the sadness and pain he has caused his daughter makes him really think twice about his life and this may be the final thing that makes him stop drinking. If this does not do it nothing will. I really believe state and local officials are doing all they can to change the drinking and driving problems in New Mexico. We are making headway. Unfortunately there will always be people like Robert Montoya and at some point the only way to keep the citizens safe is to keep these people in jail as long as possible. I hope his daughters get some counseling and overcome the pain this man has caused in their lives. I know my family and many others are praying for them.

Halloween Safety Tips

I want to offer you all some Halloween Safety Tips you can use to keep your kids safe this Halloween.

· Carry a flashlight or glow sticks
· All young children should have parental supervision.
· Teenagers should have a map of the areas parents want them to stay in.
· Walk, don't run.
· Stay on Sidewalks
· Obey traffic signals
· Stay in familiar neighborhoods
· Don’t cut across yards or driveways.
· Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
· Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume)
· Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
· Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
· (If no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road facing traffic
· Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
· Approach only houses that are lit.
· Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
· Inspect all candy and items and do not keep anything that is not pre wrapped or may have opened.

Call the dispatch at 505-428-3710 to report any suspicious activities or unsafe activities in the area of trick or treaters. Check for sex offenders living in your area; do not go to these homes when trick or treating.

Extra Sheriff’s Deputies will be on patrol as well as fire personnel throughout the night to help ensure your safety.

Sheriff Greg Solano Wishes you all a happy and safe Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red's - A short story.

When I was young there was a story often talked about but usually not believed. It was the story of how one night the devil himself came to Reds Bar in Espanola. Mothers used the story to try and keep their daughters from going out drinking and partying. Although there are many variations to the story as my Halloween treat to you I have written my version. Parts are from memory of the story as told to me when I was young and parts are filled in by me to complete the story. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!


By Greg Solano

It was a long day at work, but thank god it was Friday. Julie began putting things away on her desk and began the process of shutting down the IBM Computer. Since her company switched to the expensive IBM computer things are a lot easier during the day. Keeping track of accounts and delinquencies is definitely easier. At the end of the day before the computer she just closed up the ledgers locked them in the file drawer and left for the day. Now it took about 45 minutes to backup the data to the tape drive and shut down the computers for the day. On Fridays it seemed to take for ever.

Julie never used to complain, not even to herself, things have changed lately. Her mother’s death changed everything. Her mother never liked Julie’s job. As a collection agent for a finance company her job was to hound people every day and get them to pay their delinquent loan payments. Julie was good at her job, relentless and without sympathy she was known in the company as the “Pit Bull”. Loan officers though out the company wanted their delinquent accounts assigned to her. She would collect and keep them out of trouble.

Julie’s mother Christina used to call her Jewel’s and as a devout Christian who’s own mother came to Santa Fe New Mexico from Mexico City only sixty years ago Christina always thought her beloved Jewel’s work was not a good job for a Christian. Calling people all day to get blood from a turnip, “how could you do it me hita? “ she would often say. Now Christina was gone and Julie felt lonely. Julie partied a lot but never was able to have a stable relationship. It was usually one night stands or just guys she partied with. Julie hadn’t partied at all for over a month now, not since her mother’s unexpected death.

Christina died in a horrible car accident. Her 1979 Caprice Classic was destroyed by the semi load of trees coming down from the ski basin. It was one of those freak accidents that no one could have ever believed would happen. She was headed home after her day at work cleaning the homes of the rich on Bishops Lodge Road. As she headed home a Semi truck passing her in the opposite direction dropped its load of trees just as it passed her car. The huge steel car was crushed and Christina died probably never even realizing what had happened.

The IBM was through with its back up and shutting down. Julie picked up her purse and headed home. On the drive home Julie began thinking of going out tonight. Many times she would head over to Espanola and party at Red’s. This was a very small bar that had live music on weekends. It was the in place even though it could easily be described as literally a hole in the wall. “What the hell? Julie said to her self.” It has been such crappy week I need to get out.

At home Julie began looking through her closet for a dress; she picked out her black long dress with some black silk high heels, black panty hose finished off the ensemble. Some deep red lipstick and she was on her way. Julie glanced at her watch and saw that it was eight o’clock as she pulled into Espanola and headed down the strip to Red’s. She adjusted her dress as she stepped out of her long Red Monte Carlo. The large steel door of the 77 Monte Carlo squealed loudly as she slammed it shut. Julie’s high heels clicked loudly on the pavement as she headed to the door of Red’s bar and lounge.

Red’s was a dark small bar. The long bar ran along one end of the room with several tables scattered around the rest of the room. A very small dance floor was situated in front of a corner that was cleared out to make room for a band. Three men were set up and playing a Cumbia. The singer was a short olive skinned man with a pretty good voice, another Hispanic was on the drums and the band was rounded out with a bass player. Reds smelled of old beer which had seeped into the dark red carpet night after night for the past twenty years. Julie waited for her eyes to adjust before heading to the bar. “Hey Al, how’s it going?” “Julie! Where you been it’s been a long time, sorry about your mom, it was horrible” Al said as he passed her a Coors. “Let me have a shot also, lets kick this night off right” said Julie as she took a big swig out of the cold Coors can.

The bar was packed tonight and as usual the ratio of men to women was at least three to one. It wasn’t long before men began asking Julie to dance. She obliged them all, she was in the mood to party. Of course it was only a dance, she didn’t pay attention to the flirtatious advances that came during and after the dance. She danced and drank the night away and before she knew it the clock struck eleven. Julie sat down and used the bar napkin to wipe the sweat from her face. Another man walked up and asked her to dance. “I need a break come back in a little bit” she responded. As she sucked down what had to be her ninth or tenth coors her attention was drawn to the front door as it swung open. A tall dark skinned man entered the door. He was gorgeous she thought to her self as he looked over the room. He was dressed in black with black silky hair that reminded her of Elvis Presley and a body that looked sculpted by Michael Angelo himself.

Their eyes met and it was as though he came here looking just for her. He walked straight to Julie’s table and outstretched his hand to her. All of a sudden she wasn’t tired any more. She took his hand and headed straight to the dance floor. Neither said a word and it didn’t even dawn on Julie that this was weird. Julie was mesmerized and the two began dancing. All of a sudden he was the only man she saw in the bar. The couple all dressed in black and in the center of the dance floor became the center of attention. Yet they paid no attention to anyone else. “Julie you’re a beautiful woman” the man said as he finally spoke. “How do you know my name?” she asked him. “I met you here a few months ago” he said. “I am sure I would remember you” she said as she put her hand on his chest.

“You were pretty lit up and having a good time” his lips cracked a smile as he said this. The two danced and laughed for the next hour. As the clock reached a few minutes until midnight they were still dancing when he glanced up at the clock. “I’ve got to go” he said, “why don’t you come with me?” “No, let’s stay” she pleaded, “its early; last call is not until 1:15”. She held onto him trying to keep him dancing as he began trying to pull away. “I’ve got to go, come with me, let’s go!” His voice changed from the smooth man to a sort of growl. Julie was used to getting her way so she began kissing him and pulling him closer. She ran her hand through his hair and as she did so she felt two bumps, the bumps were unnatural, hard and almost seemed like small horns.

Julie felt strange for the first time she looked at the man whose eyes now seemed to turn red; he had a goatee where there was not one before. There seemed to be heat coming from his body, it was like standing in front of a fireplace. His hand pulled up to her neck and long nails that were not there before scratched across her neck. She could hear screams but they weren’t from her. She hadn’t realized it but the band had not only stopped playing, they were running out of the bar along with everyone else. The bumps on his head had extended at least two inches into the air and his clothes were smoking. The bar smell had changed from stale beer to burnt flesh. Julie could feel warm blood slowly coming down from her neck. She backed up slowly with out even realizing she was doing so.

The devil himself had now appeared before her, he smiled and then ran out the door a glowing tail swinging behind him. Julie wanted to run but could not move. She stood there in shock, the only one left. She walked out, still stunned and got into her car and drove away. It was a long drive home, 45 minutes. She was trying to comprehend what had just happened to her. Her heart was still pounding and her chest was heaving. The long road between Espanola and Santa Fe was dark and seemed even more so than usual. Then up ahead she could see a red bright light. Maybe it’s a cop she thought; as she drove closer the light appeared to be in the center of the road. She slowed down and the closer she got she realized it was a man, a man who seemed to be glowing red. Even though it was still far away she could see his face, it was the devil from Red’s Bar. He was grinning, his arms outreached toward her. She swerved the car to the right, and hit the brakes. The car slid into a ditch on the side of the road and stalled. Panic struck as she tried to start the car.

Julie looked into her rear view mirror and saw the demon standing behind her car, still grinning. He touched the trunk of her car and flames quickly encircled the car. Julie tried to open the door but it would not open. She screamed so hard that hardly anything came out. The demon turned and walked away. Screaming and frantic Julie tried the door again and it still wouldn’t open. She began praying the Our Father….. Our Father, who art in heaven hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom com, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Suddenly she felt something, something calming. At the drivers door was a cloudy white light, in the center of the light Julie could swear she saw her mothers face and heard “Jewels, come to me”. The door opened and Julie stepped out. She walked towards the light as the flames continued into the sky. The light dissipated and Julie sat on the hill side and watched her car go up in flames.

Tomorrow she would start a new life……

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sheriff Joe Arpaio VS The Phoenix Times

Last week and again this week I read Julia Goldbergs blog post on someone I have discussed in previous blog posts of my own with some amazement. Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County Arizona is both hated and revered across this nation. Emails extolling his greatness are forwarded back and forth to hundreds of thousands of computers across the nation. I could not count how many times I have received this email, usually from someone who just moved to Santa Fe and thinks I should be like Joe. Public hangings would resume on the Santa Fe Plaza with me being the first recipient of the treatment if I was like Sheriff Joe.

My counter on this blog keeps track of how search engines lead people to my blog as well as how many visit per day. The search term Sheriff Joe Arpaio is always in the top 5 even though I have only mentioned him in 3 of my 217 previous posts on this blog. I first became intimately aware of this sheriff prior to my being elected to my first term. Our local jail was the number one topic of the election at the time. The jail was privately run and was receiving criticism from the public as well undergoing an investigation by the Department of Justice. I studied jail models from across the country and was shocked and amazed that our jail was under so much scrutiny from the Department of Justice while tent jails both in New Mexico and in Sheriff Arpaio's county seemed like comparing a Holiday Inn to an outhouse.

In the latest episode Sheriff Arpaio's Deputies arrested Michael Lacey, the executive editor, and Jim Larkin, chief executive of Village Voice Media — a company that owns a number of alternative weeklies including The Village Voice, The LA Weekly and The Phoenix Times.

The Phoenix Times and its editors have been in a long running battle with Sheriff Arpaio, after publishing a series of stories about his real estate dealings. They were arrested for unlawful disclosure of grand jury information. In a strange twist they were also being investigated for publishing the Sheriff's home address. I always thought everyone knows where every politician lives and if they did not know they could find out pretty easily. I cannot count the number of people who have knocked at my door and come to my home to ask for help, advice or just to let me know what they think about me or one of my deputies. Its part of being an elected official, at least in New Mexico it is.

Seems now the Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has not only dropped the charges against the news editors but he has also canceled the investigation into publishing of the Sheriff's Home Address. So, why are Grand Jury Proceedings Secret anyway? Most states who have Grand Jury systems follow Federal Grand Jury Rules.

Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that the prosecutor, grand jurors, and the grand jury stenographer are prohibited from disclosing what happened before the grand jury, unless ordered to do so in a judicial proceeding. Secrecy was originally designed to protect the grand jurors from improper pressures. The modern justifications are to prevent the escape of people whose indictment may be contemplated, to ensure that the grand jury is free to deliberate without outside pressure, to prevent subornation of perjury or witness tampering prior to a subsequent trial, to encourage people with information about a crime to speak freely, and to protect the innocent accused from disclosure of the fact that he or she was under investigation.

Courts have taken seriously any attempt to publish or report secret proceedings in Grand Juries. In a 2004 article published by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Reporters are cautioned that judges will go after reporters who reveal information from secret Grand Jury Proceedings. In the Article published by The Phoenix Times the paper acknowledged they may be in trouble for publishing the subpoena's from the Grand Jury however decided that the publics right to know the far reaching effects of the subpoena was more important. The County Attorney in dropping the charges and investigations has since stated that the subpoena's were overly broad in their scope.

In my opinion a hard headed Sheriff and his attorneys have met their match in a hard headed newspaper. The two are butting heads and I wonder how much public money is being spent in this pissing match. Both sides have made errors and one can argue who is more right or wrong. In either case the public loses. All though the offenses are not necessarily on the same scale this reminds me of the Clinton/Monica Lewinski special prosecutor investigations in that no one really won and in the end what was the point of the investigation anyway? When public officials or the media go on witch hunts they can easily lose focus of their primary responsibilities and what their true mission really is.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Funny Friday- Be a Cop.

After my last sobering post I thought we would do a Funny Friday especially since I have not done one for a while. In this clip the officers from Reno 911 talk about recruiting efforts at their department. As you all know its getting harder and harder to recruit new officers so these two unveil their newest recruiting tool.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cop Killings up 54% from last year.

An alarming number has crossed my desk, cop killings are up 54% from last year. The latest killings of two officers in Odessa Texas along with a third fighting for his life from the same incident have added to these numbers. A healthy respect for law enforcement as well as the fact that officers can shoot back have often done more to protect officers than guns and bullet resistant vests. There is concern that these factors are on the decrease while the end result is the increase in those willing to shoot cops. In 2005 there were 59 gun related killings in the entire year. In 2006 the number decreased slightly with 52 officer killings. As of Tuesday 60 officers had been killed with guns, this number is up 54% from the same time last year. With 2 and a half months to go in the year, the year end total is due to be a sobering reminder to all officers of the need to be aware of your surroundings and to use the tactics and training you have all received to keep you from becoming one of these statistics.

128 officers from New Mexico are listed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.. At the State Memorial located at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy several new sections of granite have been added over the years to accommodate the ever increasing deaths in New Mexico. I have often thought that the location of the memorial was one of the best in the nation. It is located in the courtyard of the academy grounds just below the living quarters. Young officers from across this state are forced to see it every day. There is no better reminder of the need for young recruits to pay attention to their training and fully understand the career they are choosing to enter. Over the years I have seen several young officers decide the career is not for them and quit during the first year as they realize what they are getting themselves into. On the other hand those that stay and are able to adapt to the life changing career are in for one of the most rewarding careers you can have.

The top killer of officers has always been traffic accidents however through October 9, 2007 gunshots sit at 60 while traffic accidents sit at 61. In response the International Association of Chiefs of Police wants to re institute the ban on high caliber sniper rifles and armor piercing handgun ammunition in the U.S. as well as 39 other restrictions. Among those other 39 restrictions are the following proposals.

-- Congress, as well as state, local, and tribal governments,
should enact laws requiring that all gun sales and
transfers proceed through a Federally licensed firearms
dealer, thus ensuring that a mandatory Brady background
check will be conducted on the transferee.

-- Congress should enact an effective ban on military-style
assault weapons. (In early September, on the third
anniversary of the expiration of the previous Federal
assault weapons ban, four police officers were shot in
Miami, one fatally, by a criminal armed with an assault

-- Congress should enact effective bans on .50 caliber
sniper rifles and armor-piercing handgun ammunition.

-- Congress should enact legislation to allow federal health
and safety oversight of the firearms industry.

-- State and local governments should regulate and/or limit
the sale of multiple handguns as a measure to reduce gun

-- The Federal government should increase funding to ATF for
personnel and technical assistance to combat gun violence.

-- Congress should repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which
restricts the sharing on gun trace data.

-- State and local governments should mandate that every gun
sold comes with a local or security device that meets
minimum safety standards to help protect against accidental
discharge and misuse.

A report written by the International Association of Chiefs
of Police, which is available on the IACP's website at, was released at a news conference
on September 19 in Washington, D.C. IACP law enforcement
representatives, two U.S. Senators, three U.S.
representatives and the Mayor of Milwaukee stressed the
importance and urgency of the recommendations. Paul Helmke,
President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
attended the news conference along with other
representatives of the Brady Campaign.
Gun restrictions have always been contentious and many cops themselves are against gun restrictions because they are avid gun enthusiasts as well. I do not own a personal weapon although when working at a law enforcement agency I have always had a department issued weapon. I do hunt and for some reason have just never bought a hunting rifle. I usually borrow one from a friend or family member. I just keep saying I am going to buy one and then before I know it hunting season is here and I borrow one because its to late to buy one, sight it in and get used to it. At least that's the excuse I give myself. Actually I often forget to apply for a hunting license and then half the time when I do apply I do not draw a tag.

I have spoken before about my disgust with the Republican Party in the last 6 years. They claim to be the party of Law Enforcement and because of that many law enforcement organizations have backed Republican candidates. Yet the truth of the matter is the Democrats hold the record in recent years of actually voting for and passing Law Enforcement related bills and funding. The Bush Administration has killed the C.O.P.S. programs which were the brain child of the Clinton Administration. Under the C.O.P.S. Programs officers were provided bullet resistant vests, thousands of new police officers were hired and trained across the country and grants were plentiful for community policing and other similar programs. Police were placed in the schools and funded by federal grants. School officers are on a sharp decline since federal funding has ended for this program under the Bush Administration.

I believe in a citizens right to protect themselves and to own firearms. I also believe that reasonable restrictions, licensing and registration of firearms should take place. Those with mental disability's and criminal records should lose that right. I can think of no valid reason that Armor piecing bullets and sniper rifles should be sold in local gun stores. Fully automatic rifles and sniper rifles should only be sold with added restrictions and licensing if at all. We should look for reasonable solutions to allowing citizens to have the means for sport and self protection while still maintaining the ability to protect citizens and law enforcement from gun violence.

The only problem that would remain is determining what is reasonable. That should be easy enough. LOL.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who wants to go see the Dallas Cowboys vs The Washington Redskins?

The Solano for Lt. Governor Campaign is having a Halloween fund raiser which will be held on October 26, at the Fraternal Order of Police on Airport Road in Santa Fe. The event is a dinner and dance which will culminate with the giveaway of two lower level 30 yard line tickets to the Dallas Cowboys vs the Washington Redskins game in Dallas Texas on November 18, 2007. This is a sold out game that promises to be a great game between two division rivals. The cowboys are on a winning streak and being that the game is in Dallas the excitement for this game is at an all time high. Click here for information on how to donate to the campaign and have some fun while doing so!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tell me bout the good ole days.

I got hooked on blogs as a form of edutainment (education/entertainment). I read some blogs for fun and some for education. Every now and then I get both. I had fun reading this blog however I immediately had to Google the word hagiography thus the educational part kicked in when I learned a new word. Remember when we used to have to pull out the dictionary and actually turn pages to look up something?

I have a Palm Trio Cell Phone and with it I can Google anything, get and send faxes, read and send email and read and draft word and excel documents. Basically my office is in my pocket, I also read and write blogs from my cell phone. It boggles the mind. Remember when every family had an encyclopedia set in the house? They were sold door to door and were quite expensive. For most middle income families they were purchased on an installment plan. Our family did not have much money so ours was kind of old and was given to us. I do remember that when ever I had to look something up I usually ran across a few other articles or something that caught my eye which meant every time I picked up one of them I ended up reading for a while. I included a photo of what encyclopedia's looked like in case some of you young ins have never seen one.

Now I rely on blogs, online newspapers, CNN, CNBC, and the evening news to pique my interest. I used to read Newsweek, Time, Popular Mechanics, and many other magazines. Now the only time I read these are at the hospital or some other waiting area. I do still read trade magazines but thats pretty much it. Only a few times a week do I hold an actual paper in my hand although I have subscriptions and get the daily's I read the online versions every morning, sometimes still laying in bed with my laptop. I do still read weekly, and monthly papers by holding the paper in my hand and turning the pages without a mouse. When they get better at online publishing that will probably end also. Times they are a changing, I have now become my grandmother who used to tell me how things used to be back in her day.......

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pendulum has swung too far in Juvenile Detention Programs

I am back, I apologize for my two weeks of non blogging I just kept not being able to get to it. Nothing major keeping me from it just every day busy stuff. As many of you have seen in the media Santa Fe County is experiencing an increase in burglaries recently just as the city has over the last year. Many of the arrests we make on burglars caught in the act or after the fact are juveniles. A few years ago the state passed reforms on the handling of Juvenile criminal offenders designed to reduce the numbers of juveniles incarcerated and divert those juveniles to programs rather than incarcerate. For the most part it was a good idea rooted in intervention and the idea that you only incarcerate the worst offenders.

The State came up with a scoring system which is used to evaluate juveniles when they are arrested. When an officer arrests a juvenile they call a Juvenile probation officer on the phone. The officer details the circumstances surrounding the arrest to the probation officer who uses the scoring sheet to add up the points. A juvenile must score above a certain number of points in order to be placed in the detention center. Points are given for whether the crime was a violent one, whether injury's or death are involved, the juveniles past history etc. The scoring is heavily weighted towards incarceration of violent offenders.

This means that those who are arrested for non violent crimes such as burglary, graffiti, D.W.I., and many gang related cases and other non violent crimes are usually not incarcerated. Think about it, you call the police because some kid just plowed into your car. We get there and he is drunk, you think as we put him or her into the back of out squad car that the offender is going to at least spend the night in detention. Instead we drive away with the child call his or her parents and have them pick up the child at our office. They go home with their parents suffering no short term legal consequences.

I say short term because I am not saying they don't suffer any consequences. They will eventually report to a probation officer and may or may not even see a judge. They will receive treatment, be monitored and pay reparations. However, what kind of message do we send in the short term when they just go home and find that they will not be detained even for one night? We have arrested at least five juveniles for burglary in September alone. Burglary is a felony punishable by prison if an adult commits the crime. In a burglary someone knowingly breaks into your home, vehicle or business in order to commit a crime, usually theft. It is a personally devastating crime. It robs victims of the sense of security in their own homes and creates fear and insecurity among its victims for years. It goes way beyond the value of the items taken. Yet children can commit burglary's with out any fear of incarceration.

Prior to the laws being changed in New Mexico the pendulum may have been to far in the opposite direction. Children were incarcerated for the most minor offenses which included running away from home. Children incarcerated for minor offenses were mixed in with those whom were incarcerated for major offenses including murder and rape. Those kids whose only crime may have been unhappiness at home or real home parenting issues were exposed to real criminals and as such likely to become friends with and end up assisting or emulating those children who were already lost to society. Someone recognized this and changes in the laws were sought and passed. In my opinion it was the right idea but those who drafted the regulations were over zealous in their execution.

The time has come to revisit the juvenile incarceration system and give more latitude towards including certain crimes such as DWI, felony burglary, auto theft and other serious felony's as crimes in which juveniles can be incarcerated. Juvenile Probation officers should be given more latitude to make individual case decisions based on the circumstances of the arrest and yes I do think some first time, one time juvenile burglars maybe should not go to detention. However, those who are caught during a burglary spree, or who admit to multiple burglary's should at least spend one night away from home to think about what they have done. I also believe D.W.I. should always be an immediate incarceration. The public really has no idea that kids who commit these types of crimes do not get incarcerated. I know that changes will not occur until the public is aware of whats happening and only then will the pendulum began its slow swing back to somewhere in the center.