By Tony Parra
Portales city officials took the time during Tuesday night’s city meeting to recognize the Portales Police Department for becoming the first New Mexico accredited Police Department.
The accreditation meant the Portales Police Department was the first to achieve successful completion of a process in October that has taken more than 2 1/2 years since the accreditation was made available through the New Mexico Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Mexico Municipal League and the New Mexico Self Insurers’ Fund.
“It was a very long process,” Portales Police Department Chief Jeff Gill said. “I’d like to thank Judy Irwin and Capt. Scott Chambers for their hard work. I’d like to thank the officers and support staff for their work. It is those people that make the Portales Police Department one of the most professional police departments in the state.”
The program was created nearly three years ago with two purposes in mind: Improve the level of law enforcement, and lower the risk of injuries and lawsuits, meaning insurance premiums also drop.
A certificate will be awarded to the Portales Police Department on Thursday during a banquet at the Law Enforcement Conference in Albuquerque. Mayor Orlando Ortega said the Santa Fe Police Department was the second to receive accreditation and six others which have received accreditation: Ruidoso, Silver City, Deming, New Mexico State University, Alamogordo and Bloomfield.
Chambers was also recognized for his 20 years of service to the Portales Police Department.
— Ortega and city council approved two appointments to the recreational advisory board, Leo Lovett and Daniel Pilon. They will fill vacancies left by the death of Russell Knudson and the resignation of Chris Bachicha. They also approved the renewal of Mike Archibeque and Oscar Robinson on the board until Dec. 2008.
— Ortega and city councilors also approved an agreement with UNAVCO Inc. to install, operate, maintain and service a Global Positioning System at the Portales Municipal Airport. City Manager Debi Lee said there will be an administrative fee of $1,000 to place the GPS on city property.
Lee said UNAVCO is a scientific non-profit organization from Boulder, Colo. which will use the system as a plate boundary observatory. The purpose is to provide information for large-scale plate tectonic deformation projects. Lee said it’s to compare stable ground with unstable ground in California, which has earthquakes.
“A benefit is that it will allow surveyors from the city and county to use the GPS to base survey base measurements for free,” Lee said. “We’ll be able to utilize the system.”
UNAVCO is liable for the equipment and the maintenance of the system.