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Local law enforcement officials made the case to U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján that technology played a key role in a recent high-profile arrest in Albuquerque, highlighting that such investments are having an impact.
Lujan, D-N.M., visited Albuquerque police’s Real Time Crime Center on Tuesday for a discussion on crime with city and Bernalillo County officials.
Law enforcement officers pointed to the arrest of a Solomon Pena, a failed GOP state house candidate accused of being the “mastermind” behind an effort to shoot at the homes of four Democratic elected officials.
“I’m only grateful that no one was hurt or killed. We’ve all witnessed … the escalation of violence going back to January 6. People lost their lives, law enforcement lost their lives,” Luján said. “I’m grateful (for) what’s been done to apprehend someone but terrified as to what this means not just here in our community, but across the country.”
The police told Luján that ShotSpotter, a gun detection system that alerted police to one of those shootings, led to a break in that case. The officials asked Luján to try to secure federal funding to expand the use of such systems throughout the county.
“We absolutely have to have it,” Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Hollie Anderson said of the ShotSpotter devices, which she was familiar with while working for Albuquerque police.
Luján said he and other members of the state’s congressional delegation in recent years secured funding for several projects for law enforcement through legislation that was ultimately signed into law. Those projects include $435,000 for a public safety ECHO Project, over $2 million in funding for the Violence Intervention Program and Community Safety Department, and $416,000 for Bernalillo County’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.
The senator said he remains confident that additional programs could be funded with assistance from the federal government, even though the U.S. House is now controlled by Republicans instead of Democrats.
“I’m forever an optimist that there’s always a lot that you can get done,” he said.