NM police dept. seeks increased visibility, relaxed take-home car policy

The goal is to get more patrol cars out in the community to help deter crime, the department said

Considering the proliferation of law enforcement take-home vehicle programs, it’s no surprise there has been a correlating increase in burglaries to those vehicles. Be sure to check out Warren Wilson's expert analysis on the topic, "3 ways cops can help keep their take-home squads more secure."

By Police1 Staff

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico police department is seeking to increase visibility by allowing officers to take their cars to more places while off duty.

KRQE reported that the Albuquerque Police Department, which is experiencing a staff shortage, is planning to rewrite its take-home vehicle policy. Under current policy, APD officers are not allowed to take cars home for non-duty related functions other than “physical trainings” and transportation of an officer’s children to daycare or school.

The goal is to get more patrol cars out in the community to help deter crime, the department said.

The department is looking to hire hundreds of additional officers to its core of about 850 current sworn officers. The department hopes that making its cars more visible will help before more officers join the ranks.

Gilbert Gallegos, Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said proposed policy is an “innovative way to fight crime.” Gallegos likens the presence of patrol vehicles to the department’s mobile camera trailers.

"We know those serve as a huge deterrent, crime goes down significantly, just because people know there are eyes in the area," Gallegos said.

The APD said it ideally would like to see more patrol cars at community functions and places where they normally go such as pools, parks and community centers.

"There already are a lot of officers who are coaching youth league teams and involved in faith-based organizations, we're encouraging more of that involvement so they're interacting with the community," Gallegos said. "What better way than to have them in their cars out there?"

The department said it’s currently working on re-writing the policy, but hopes to have a new one in place by July.

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