View Blog

A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Sunday, May 29, 2005

New Mexico State Police Officers are Arrested

This is a post where I responded to Greg Burton's blog which raises valid concerns regarding two New Mexico State Police Officers arrested last week after an altercation with Albuquerque Police Department Officers:


I too share your concerns and wish to assure you that not all police officers share this mentality. The NMSP is an institution that has served its purpose well in the past but it is time for a change.

Owing to their exclusiveness regarding training (they have their own separate police academy) they have had a tendency to become highly guarded and elitist in their mentality. I think this is a dangerous precedent and the inexcusable behavior of these rookie officers belies deeply rooted and oft discussed shortcomings regarding NMSP by other agencies who have ever dealt with them throughout the state. It ressurects many people's concerns. To my way of thinking, the only logical thing to do is to restructure that organization such that it is no longer a free-standing entity that appears only willing to answer to itself.

I understand this proposition has a snow-ball's chance in hell of ever coming to fruition in the near future but, perhaps if enough people begin to talk about it, something good will come of it.

I do not believe however that this issue is particularly exclusive to NMSP. The recent imbroglio at APD and their Evidence Room Scandal has raised eyebrows in that direction as well. it is worth to note that APD has no intentions of pursuing the matter further despite the fact that roughly $200,000.00 is missing along with drugs and valuables from the Evidence Unit. Apparently, APD surmises that getting rid of Chief Gilbert Gallegos was a tidy way of sweeping the biggest scandal in APD's entire history under the rug. It stinks to high heaven.

It is imperative we all remind ourselves that police are Human Beings capable of making mistakes like the rest of us. The fact that they carry guns and have legal authority to assert the state's will at gunpoint if necessary can be unsettling because of the Human factor as evidenced in this latest run-in between NMSP and APD.

There is no room in any police department for questionable ethics because any lapses can have deadly consequences. If police are unaware of the caveat emptor regarding public service when they commence their police academy training, there is zero doubt they will be fully aware of it if they are lucky enough to complete it; the life of a police officer requires integrity; it is therefore subject to public scrutiny and thus, must be held to a higher standard.

Rest asssured, all police officers are totally cognizent that it is a privilege to wear that badge - moreover, they also know full-well what responsibilities are tied to that honor, bestowed upon them, by the public which they are sworn to protect and serve.

Lest we forget that, we as a society deserve the police department we are willing to accept.


At Tue May 31, 12:50:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a citizen of NM, I feel DPS collectively is losing public trust, support, and most important agency credibility. I read you previous post regarding accountability within media and reporters accurately doing their job despite reprocussions of corporate supporters. The same principles apply to law enforcement. It sounds to me that State officers are acting out or possibly trained to beleive they are better than there supporting local and county officers. However, if that holds true, training personnel must remember that without the support of other assisting agencies, State Police would not exist. Nobody can effectively police this state by themselves not even State Police.

At Tue May 31, 08:51:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Your point well taken - It is not a stretch to conclude that NMSP despite their rather grandiose self-perspective are anything but.

Truthfully, if you could get the brass to speak honestly about their perspective on NMSP, they would clearly point out that their department is the best without question. While such pride is to be expected, it leads to conflict; both internally and externally. The not-so-best-kept secret is that NMSP thinks they are better thany any LE agency in the state - some of them think the planet. Such a mindset is flat-out dangerous. They are out of control.

Their motto is, "Pride, Honor, Tradition"

Perhaps now is a good time to recall that "Pride" is one of the seven deadly sins. What I see more these days is "Prideful ness."

Honor - seems to be a serious problem these days with not only NMSP but many agencies that seem to have forgotten the duty they are charged with and the fact that such duty is directly tied to the Public trust. In short, they have become a machine that is out of touch with the public they are commissioned to serve. When the Rookies are behaving so abhorrently, it means there's something amiss in their training.

Their isolation has become their Achilles Heel in that they have fallen under the deluding, intoxicating spell of power that now screams out for radical change.

Tradition - the final part of the model simply is not enough of a reason for an organizational structure to exist. Slavery was a tradition. Restricting hiring NMSP Officers on the basis of height requirements in the past was also a 'tradition.' In short, that is a weak argument as well.

Unfortunately, the training NMSP officers receive at their Academy in Santa Fe is nothing short of indoctrination.

I fully understand the need to train Officers with specificity unique to that particular department's job description. However, such nuances could be trained as an adjunct and does not require the 'extreme' training that the NMSP Academy is famous for among local Agencies. Their reputation as a 'Kick ass and take names' agency has been not only cultivated in the Law Enforcement world of NM, it is smugly flaunted when contact occurs between NMSP and, 'lesser' agencies.

Point in fact is that if NMSP carried that 'tradition' to all agencies, perhaps the bar might be raised through out the state. More significantly however is that NMSP's 'big dog' mentality might just make them more approachable and realistic in their own self-perspective.

I am glad for your post because it substantiates an undercurrent that is rarely addressed regarding NMSP; their motto has molted from a butterfly to a caterpillar - Their collective badge is tarnished by their elitist, separatist tradition.

At Tue May 31, 11:57:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also read postings by Greg Burton on his blog as well. I think it is fair to say future postings concerning any LE agency will be discussed in your blog. Most citizens like myself would rather post an anonymous comment to avoid further action by a state agency as large as DPS. With that in mind, this is why people in general leave anonymous "tips," to avoid being exposed. Lastly, I have a cousin who is a State officer who has mentioned to me on occassion DPS training staff do in fact indoctrinate their rookie officers that they are the best LE agency in the state. However, with that mindset as an agency you are doomed because looking at it from an outside perspective it seems to me that nobody wants that type of "cockyness" from a police officer. Furthermore, I have a cousin who is stationed in rural northern nm and relys on smaller agencies on a regular basis for backup, since most State officers work alone. My cousin thanks god every day for the backup because on one particular call he almost paid the ultimate price. Their closest backup most of the time is an hour away. According to my cousin, the attrition rate among State officers is higher than most agencies in the state contributed to low pay, no backup, and no collective barganining. Currently, my cousin is applying with other agencies who care for their officers and in fact compensate them financially. I was unware police officers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis are not compensated. Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your postings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At Tue May 31, 12:42:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a website that makes me sick to my stomach. I will comment on your last reply shortly.

At Tue May 31, 12:55:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad your not backing down because intimidation tactics are not going to work. Maybe the fear of being exposed is affecting the person sending you creepy emails. Hey creepy are you afraid!!!!!! ha ha ha!!!!!! If you don't like this blog quit logging onto it!!!! Plain and simple!!!!! Can sombody anybody remind creepy of the first amemdment??

At Tue May 31, 12:59:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Amen Anonymous!

I understand these NMSP officers have to be brimming with self-confidence because as you rightly point out, back up is usually 45 minutes to an hour away. A lot can happen in that amount of time. I am glad your cousin has figured out the way to save his bacon is by not looking down his nose at the 'local help.'

When I went through the Academy, my instructor told us of countless stories where police officers that treated someone he cited with dignity and respect actually got their butts saved by the same people they had cited. Countless are the stories where an officer, badly outnumbered or seriously overwhelmed by his opponent on the side of the highway was assisted by ‘Joe six-pack.’

The particular story I recall being related to our cadet class was where after the whole thing was over, the Officer asked the guy who he had cited in the past why he decided to help the Officer. The guy's response was classic, "Because you weren't an asshole with me. I figured you were a good guy and I wanted to help you out because you have a tough job."

I do not think this story is apocryphal - I believe it did happen because I respect my training Officers at the Academy; they had no reason to lie to me. I know their reason for teaching me anything at all went beyond a paycheck – they wanted us to survive no matter what. They never spoke of how great we were compared to other agencies or to the people we were sworn to serve and protect. They never tolerated elitism and bigotry.

Bearing that in mind, doesn't it strike you as odd (ask your cousin about it) that a Westpoint Graduate who happens to be a black man is dismissed by the NMSP Brass as a nut job – incapable of “NMSP style Pride, Honor, Tradition?” Since when is Westoint incapable of putting out personnel who are nut up to NMSP's standards? God pity the likes of George Patton, Admiral Nimitz or Douglas Macarthur if they had chosen to try becoming NMSP Officers huh? It sure smells like Racism.

Or, what about the Officer (again black as I understand the story) who was handcuffed to a tree? Imagine that in 2005? In New Mexico?

Something is very wrong here. By the way, I have received several cryptic e-mails, the last of which was down right creepy.

I don't know who is generating these e-mails and I don't really care. I do know that my posts are rubbing more than a few people the wrong way. Someone has heartburn with I have to say and would prefer that I stop. However, I am not going to stop posting. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do.

I thank you for your post. I understand your reservations about speaking up un-anonymously and I understand your concern over this disturbing issue. Keep coming back - this is how grassroots changes come to pass.

At Tue May 31, 01:30:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Before this gets out of hand, I want to state categorically that I do not think the e-mails are coming from Law Enforcement. I have the utmost regard for all public servants.

My concern is with people getting too comfortable with police and believing that they are incapable of making mistakes. They are Human.

I strongly invite all people with these types of concerns to come and post. But I do not want to turn this blog into a site where Police are bashed.

I am confident that the large majority of police out there share my views about serving the public with honor and dignity. I am also convinced they are as repulsed by bad behavior and bad administrations as I am.

The way I figure it is simple; the only cops who I am going to offend are bad cops and they need to be gone. I 'like' them as much as they 'like' me. They are in the minority.

All I am asking for here is that we keep our dialogue respectful and open. If there is a question then this is the place to raise it. If something turns out to be false or misleading then, this can also be a place to refute it.

My primary commitment is to the US Constitution. Anyone who attacks it or ignores it or undermines it is no friend of mine.

So, lets keep it clean as we have thus far, and come out swinging.

At Wed Jun 01, 12:07:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one question, What happened to the police survey that I saw on t.v. that DPS officers put out. It showed their top cops (Chiefs), did not have the support of their troops. I am a former combat vet, and I do question if the troops in the field do not trust thier top brass, who do they turn to. It seems thier commander in chief " Bill Richardson " does not even bother to fix things. We all remember the days of 9/11, we were all pro cop, firefighter, and military, but now we seem to have forgotten our front line men. I ask myself as I see the turnmoil in both state police and apd, why do we send our young men to fight foreign wars, when we have our own wars going on in this state. This man Denko, reminds me of hitler, a man who has been in power way to long and answers to no one. I really wonder how this man comes to work everyday, knowing that his troops have no respect or confindence in him. HMMMMMMMMM, then we want to look at the two rookie officers that thought their badges were bigger, than their fellow officers in apd. I know when i was in the front lines as a soildier I was always happy to see, marines, sailors and airmen, who were from seperate branches that what i was in. Why? We all stood for the same cause. We were all their for the same purpose, It is like a very seasoned Green Beret said. " If your the best you dont have to tell yourself that everyday, its when your not the best, that you have to tell yourself that". Listen to that quote all of you officers out there. You serve the same cause, I really do feel for those state officers who it seems that no one will listen to them and their dire concers, if there were incompetant leaders like Denko in a combat zone, well lets just say men or should I say cowards and dictators like him would disappear.

At Wed Jun 01, 09:20:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is crazy!!!!!!! what is going on with the elite state police? Where is the Governor in all this? Have we forgotten about our heros from 9/11, I can vividly remember the days of 9/11 and all those brave men that gave their lives to protect, the Declaration of Independence. Does our Governor know of the turmoil going on in the leading police agency? Or is he too busy riding around in the helicopter looking for more ticket fixing ex-state cops to appoint to key positions.( Rep. Rodellas husband. ) What a disgrace when BIG BILL wont even listen to his lead law enforcement agency. If he does run in 2008 for president is he going to turn the same deaf ear on our troops when they bring him real concerns relating to terrorism. I really dont know much about Cheif John Denko, or his deputy chief Maldonado, but what makes me look at these two characters closely, is during the legislative sesssion of 2005. When these two men would walk past their subordinates, the immense lack of respect you could see in those officers eyes for these two top cops. So as a retired Marine officer, I put my skills to the test to see if what I saw was correct. I approached many of these fine young men, who wore that uniform with great honor and distinction, and I asked about their leaders. Out of the 13 officers I talked too, and one sergeant I was appalled to hear the negativity that they shared with me. One thing is for sure these men were trained just like a Marine, never show your true feelings. One young officer had been on two years and told me he would be leaving to another department for better pay and better treatment as a person. Another veteran officer told me about scandals going on with in the department where Chief Denko was covering up misconduct of some of Governor Richardsons security agents. He pointed me in the right direction on how to obtain this information and that is what I did. The incident took place on November 24, 2004 with the Santa Fe Sheriffs dept. The incident number is 204001732, after reading this report on one of Governor Richardsons state police security agents I was, very upset that this behavior was not investigated by Chief Denko. I then heard that this same officer was involved in a second incident again nothing done to the agent. WOW, what is going on. The other officers I spoke with made comments about how the Governor is paying his detail more money than the officers out on the street. HMMMMMMMMMMMMM let me see, the Corp pays our young men hazourdous duty pay when they are in the front lines not when they are, back in the rear eating, drinking, and travelling the world. Bill WAKE UP!!!!!!!!! Now as for this deputy chief muldonado I had the chance to talk with him, I will say very insecure was my impression of him. I followed these guys into different Committiees as they testified, WOW again, did they both think people were not listening to them. They would testify to one thing in one committee and then say the oppositte in another. I have had to testify before congress, and I know you just dont lie the way these two did. As an old Marine who is loyal to this country, I know we the commanders at times make mistakes, and we are not perfect, but when the day comes and you must go to battle. You must have the respect of your men or they will cut your head off before the enemy does and these two chiefs seem to rule through hiarchy and intimidation. One young officer told me if they only knew what we all thought of them they would resign. Well I guess they didnt get the hint as I saw the vote of no confidence on the news on these two men. All I hope and pray for is the best for those officers who put it all on the line everyday, it seems they need to remember all this come election. Peace to all Siempre Fi.

At Wed Jun 01, 09:40:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Anonymous said,
He pointed me in the right direction on how to obtain this information and that is what I did. The incident took place on November 24, 2004 with the Santa Fe Sheriffs dept. The incident number is 204001732, after reading this report on one of Governor Richardsons state police security agents I was, very upset that this behavior was not investigated by Chief Denko. I then heard that this same officer was involved in a second incident again nothing done to the agent.

Please explain what 'incident number' means to the lay person. Can you go into details? How does one go about getting a copy of the incident report? Is it an NMSP report? Santa Fe County? Could you get ahold of it? I will post a photo-copy of it here on a new thread if you care to forward it to me.

At Wed Jun 01, 10:54:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

You make some valid points. The obvious question arises; why is the media so oblivious to it? Have they lost their cojones? It seems to me that if departments are rife with corruption or at best, incompetence, why is no one saying any thing about it?

I find it interesting you make the comments you do about the NMSP. I had breakfast with two officers from that department a week ago and their concerns are almost exactly what you are saying.

It seems more the rule rather than that these seasoned officers are looking elsewhere for employment. They say the same things regarding frustration. I agree the vote of no-confidence should have made top-billing in the news but it was merely a post-script.

Considering that KRQE and KOAT always advertise how they have special reporters on the look out for stories involving corruption, they remain silent. So much for actions matching words. More on this later ...

The sad reality is that government tends to reward the furniture that outlasts everyone else. While Sergeants and a good number of Lieutenants have not yet drunk the kool-aid, it seems that parroting the company line is what gets rewarded promotions beyond that.

I understand most police officers fancy themselves competent enough to not need representation from a collective bargaining unit and the majority of them who do get benefits from Unions tend to forget it as quickly. It is really sad that when Officers, priding themselves on their independence, strength and personal fortitude reach a point where it would be in their best interests to have such representation. They fall under the same kind of illusion that they are going to be okay. They are as confident in believing that they are capable of handling any problem that arises because they have bought the delusion that they are Supermen (or Super-women) that they were indoctrinated to believe at the Academy.

A retired NMSP Officer told me several years ago, "Everything is just fine until you draw the Brass's attention and when the time comes, they wipe theist a** with you.

Sad words and sadder reality for a man who dedicated his life to "Pride, Honor, Tradition" - his pride kept him loyal; his honor kept him from standing up when he saw good officers smeared and their careers destroyed; He learned about tradition the hard way, when his reputation was destroyed. He weathered the storm and finished up his work but he did say something to me that I will never forget, "It will never be too long if I never cross passes with those people for the rest of my life. They pat you on the back with the same hand they use to stab you with."

Anonymous – one last thing; Thank you for serving your country. Thank you for serving your state and thank you for working in a department that is good but seems terribly flawed. It is evident you love the job and you are a good person. Keep coming back – maybe this will serve some good.

At Thu Jun 02, 12:29:00 AM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a simple process for anybody to obtain a copy of the incident report. All you have to do is contact SFSO and simple request a copy of the report for a minor fee. Remember, pay close attention to who the reporting person is "Opps a Sgt." That did his job that day!!! At least somebody is doing their job around this state, and not succumbing to police corruption. This Sgt. even sent an internal memo to his supervisor of wrongdoing committed by the NMSP Agent. Keep in mind that it doesn't matter if you submit an inquiry of wrongdoing of proscribe behavior involving an officer from a different agency. Again, fingers should be pointed directly at the brass, since they are the ones condoning that type of behavior. I have no reservations sending you a copy for everyone to view. State Police operates under a this for that mentality on holding each other accountable by not "whistle blowing on each other." That is how everyone is kept in check!! Everybody has dirt on each other, therefore the end result is silence!!!!!!!!!!!

At Mon Jun 06, 06:13:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

State police, well what is going on with this department? There seems to be problems that are being over looked the very ones that run this orginization. I know if you look back in history many of countries and kingdoms that were ruled by the old fist and iron fell, and when they fell it was pretty hard. It is amazing that we as tax payers, put a trust in such orginazations, thinking and only hoping that they do an honest job. As I sit back and analyze this whole deal, I say " Who is watching the cops". NO ONE. This is scary. It makes you wonder, how many things have been covered up, or are going to be covered up. I just pray that it all comes to an end, Just like I know the good Lord will make it happen.

At Mon Jun 06, 08:45:00 PM MDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy following your blog because you’re the only local politico with "cojones" that discusses controversial topics such as police corruption. I agree with you where is KRQE Larry Barker?

At Mon Jun 06, 09:04:00 PM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

I am not a politico. Never held any office - I don't intend to.

Thanks anyway


Post a Comment

<< Home

PeoplePC Accelerated ISP Access

Powered by Blogger