Council Approves MOU For Drug Diversion Program And Public Safety Policies

Abraham Baca - Brandon Archuleta
From left: Lt. Abraham Baca and Community Relations Officer Brandon Archuleta model the Española Police Department’s new uniforms. Uniform regulations and appearance were included in a set of public safety policies passed by the Española City Council Tuesday. 

Council Approves MOU For Drug Diversion Program And Public Safety Policies

On Tuesday, the Española City Council unanimously passed a resolution approving a Memorandum of Understanding for participation in the Rio Arriba County Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program, also known as the “Reroute Program.”

The Reroute Program is a pre-arrest diversion program that will connect low-level drug offenders with programs that address the underlying issues, rather than processing them through the criminal justice system. The goal is to reduce the potential for criminal behavior by those struggling with problematic substance use and/or untreated or undertreated mental health conditions.

“We look forward to the possibilities of pulling people off the streets and stopping the roundabout of crimes committed in our community by people who are drug addicted and in severe need of rehabilitation….We know for sure that we cannot arrest our way out of drug addiction in this community, and this is the first opportunity that we have to try and do something different,” said Mayor Pro Tem Peggy Sue Martinez. “Hopefully we’ll see the fruits of this in the very near future.”

The County of Rio Arriba Health and Human Services Department, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office, City of Española d. City of Española Police Department, First Judicial District Attorney’s Office f. Law Offices of the Public Defender, New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance (advisory role) and The Mountain Center (advisory role) are all participants in the MOU.

Several updated public safety policies were also passed unanimously. Those policies include defining jurisdictional responsibilities and criminal investigation procedures.

“We just want to really appreciate all the work and energy and effort that has gone into creating these policies, and believe that this is the beginning of many policy changes to our public safety sector, because a lot of what we have adopted at this time is a little antiquated and we want to catch up with everything” Martinez said. “So this is the very beginning of something that’s going to happen on a regular basis.”

See details on agenda items here.

Police Chief Louis Carlos (front) joined (from left) Lt. Abraham Baca, Community Relations Officer Brandon Archuleta and Lt. Richard Trujillo in modeling the department’s new uniform standards.