Cover, June 7: “Cop Secret”

Horse’s Mouth

I enjoyed Jeff and Aaron's timely article on police transparency, but felt compelled to add some "inside" information that the average reader doesn't know about.

The central argument put forth in the article is that it is a fact that an officer was suspended/reprimanded/etc. and not a matter of opinion in a personnel file. Fair enough. The problem is, that "fact" is based on, legally, large amounts of opinion (often-times, but not always) to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard. When an officer is sustained on an allegation of a policy violation, it is not a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather a 51 percent probability that the officer indeed committed the alleged act. ... Many internal investigations turn out to be "slam dunks"—the officer admits the infraction, or video/audio evidence brings that preponderance standard to almost 100 percent. But many others do not.

Adding to the difficulty of this problem (for administrators and policy makers) is due process for these officers, or the lack thereof. Many agencies don't allow for appeals of smaller infraction "convictions" (i.e. suspensions of three days or less) and in some due process only kicks in if the officer is terminated or suspended for more than 30 days. When appeals are allowed, they are often conducted in front of peers or laypersons with little or no understanding of the issues and policies at hand. Protections for police officers have largely been born out of nefarious conduct of past administrators (see New Mexico's own Peace Officer/Employer Relations Act, or "Police Officer's Bill of Rights"). Public sector unions have carried this mantle for years, regardless if the boss is nefarious or not. Truly the ball is in the Legislature's court. IPRA needs fixing, notwithstanding current police transparency issues. Look anywhere else in government. Try getting the personnel files for teachers disciplined, or the janitor, or, God bless him, the road department worker filling in potholes. The same hurdles exist—this is not just a police problem.

Robert Shilling
Chief, NM State Police (Retired)
Santa Fe

Get ‘Em Trained

There are many problems with SFPD and the Santa Fe [County] Sheriff, and this piece just notes one of the smaller problems.

Two issues loom large, and are not being addressed; illegal policies and rotten training. The Santa Fe Police and sheriff both train their recruits at the local Law Enforcement Academy (LEA), out on Jaguar and Cerrillos. The LEA has the worst police training in our state, bar none. ... The LEA course is 675 hours, vs 1,142 for the State Police. ... Las Cruces cops get 1,000 hours of training, and their police force is comparable to SFPD. ...

The LEA also get the least defensive tactics training of all the academies; 62 hours vs 137 for the State Police. This might explain why SFPD cops seem to know only how to mug and shoot people. Nonviolent holds to control prisoners, and things like pepper spray, seem beyond their ken. ... Will District Attorney Marco Serna rise to the occasion? ... This will tell us a good bit about Serna, and chances for reform in Santa Fe.

Chris Mechels

News, June 7: “Unsafe Spaces”


They are not immigrants if they are here illegally. They need to be deported. Come one, come all to this great country, but do it properly.

Jeff Thomas
via Facebook

Web Extra, June 6: “SFR Writer Indicted Following Inaugural Protest Coverage”


I like the "allegedly caused a police officer to break his wrist" bit... What, did Mr. Plod whack that senior citizen or "brown person" with his truncheon too hard?

Kevin Michael Bulmer


Thank you for hiring Mr. Cantú!

Rus Woodward

Feathers and More

Hell of a feather in the ol' journalism cap: "I was indicted for doing my job."

Hugo Z Hackenbush
via Facebook

Fascism, Yo

Support for Aaron and your paper. This is fascism, pure and simple.

Camilla Freitag
via facebook

Some Tweets...

This is insane. A journalist faces 75 yrs in prison for covering an inaugural protest in America?


Amazing! Thanks to you and the Santa Fe Reporter for standing up to this crazy case! All the <3 <3 <3


How About don't commit crimes if you don't want to go to jail ? You cannot riot and fight cops, tf did you think would happen


Acting Out, May 31: "Dream, but Dream Practically"

Some Other Options

In addition to saving the Greer Garson Theatre, let's start a public conversation about the other facilities on [SFUAD's] centrally located campus and their potential uses. If the city is on the hook for these facilities anyway, perhaps they can be turned to uses that would advance our intentions as a nurturing, developing community, investing in citizen needs.

For example:

Residence halls and food services spaces—many possible conversions imaginable, and could be multi-use on different floors/wings; ie: Emerging artists and visiting artists live/work studio spaces; Low-income housing; Affordable senior housing; Youth hostel; Halfway house/managed living for people in transition; Bed and breakfast conversions—could be paired with hospitality training.

Classrooms for those much-needed pre-K programs, could be paired with student teacher or classroom assistant training.

Community gardens—growing plots and some "learn to grow" training.

Office and shared services space for nonprofits, NGOs, service organizations, incubator businesses, etc.

I'm sure many creative ideas can come from the community if we look to our existing local needs and not just search for commercial buyers who will be tempted to knock down and redevelop the land far in advance of the facilities losing their usefulness.

Kathryn Smith
Santa Fe


In Arthur Firstenberg's letter last week (Letters, "Woodsy Propaganda," June 7), we mistakenly referenced carbon monoxide. Firstenberg's original letter to us correctly said carbon dioxide.