Tuesday News Roundup: Santa Fe Swearing In 18 New Recruits As Officers
Suspect In Latest Albuquerque Police Shooting ID'd - Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque police have released the name of the suspect shot and killed in the city's latest officer-involved shooting.
Officials say 37-year-old Andy Jack Snider was shot by police Sunday after authorities say he charged officers with a weapon in an alley.
Albuquerque police has seen five office-involved shootings in six weeks as the department faces a federal investigation over allegations of excessive force.
Interim Police Chief Allen Banks told the Albuquerque Journal that the criminal justice system is allowing dangerous suspects to roam Albuquerque streets and putting officers in positions where they have no choice but to shoot. The city has seen eight officer-involved shootings in 2013. That's around the city's yearly average.
But Albuquerque has seen nearly three dozen officer-involved shootings since 2010.
Santa Fe Swearing In 18 New Recruits As Officers - Associated Press
The Santa Fe Police Department's ranks will be full after 18 new recruits are sworn in as new officers Tuesday as they prepare for training at the New Mexico Law Enforcement beginning Jan. 20.
The department says 12 of the new officers live in the northern New Mexico city and that only two are from outside New Mexico. Eight are military veterans.
The cadets will be taking a new, shorter 16-week academy. Upon graduation they will hit the street in a supervised training officer program that lasts 14 weeks.
The department has 166 sworn positions, and the department says full staffing means decreased response time, reduced spending on overtime and the increased ability to conduct patrols and investigations.
NM Has $600M Available For Capital Improvements - Associated Press
New Mexico will have about $600 million available next year to finance capital improvement projects.
Officials in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration told the Legislative Finance Committee on Monday that nearly $167 million will be available from general obligation bonds, which must be approved by voters.
The Legislature typically finances capital improvements at colleges, senior citizen centers and libraries with proceeds from the bonds backed by property taxes.
An additional $185 million can be spent on new capital improvements with money from bonds supported by severance taxes.
Other bond proceeds will provide $175 million for public school projects.
Nearly $29 million in financing must go water projects and $28 million for infrastructure improvements on tribal lands and in colonias, which are poor communities usually near the border with Mexico.
NM Inmates To Refurnish Wheelchairs As Training - Associated Press
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is implementing a prison program in which inmates will renovate wheelchairs that later will be distributed internationally by a Christian ministry group.
The governor and Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel outlined the program on Monday along with representatives from the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, which will supply used wheelchairs to be refurbished.
Marcantel said 10 inmates initially will participate in the program at a state prison in Las Cruces but it could be expanded later. He said inmates selected for the training will be affiliated with gangs but who haven't engaged in predatory behavior against other inmates. The program should be operating next spring.
The governor said the goal is to provide inmates with skills but also make them more caring about people.
Labor Dept. Sues NM Restaurant Over Unpaid Wages - Associated Press
The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against an Albuquerque restaurant over more than $300,000 in unpaid wages for 42 employees.
The suit alleges the St. James Tearoom and its owners, Mary Alice and Daniel Higbie, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
It seeks to recover unpaid minimum wages, overtime pay and liquidated damages totaling $304,000.
Labor officials say investigators found the restaurant required its dishwashers and serving staff join a tip pool, resulting in minimum wage violations. They say the mandatory tip pool included employees who aren't eligible for tip pools.
Labor officials say the Higbies also failed to pay the serving staff correct overtime wages and didn't keep accurate records.
A call to the Higbies at the St. James Tearoom for comment wasn't immediately returned Monday.