ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) – The state attorney general stopped an attempt to limit public comments during New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy board meetings and instead asked the board to review its training for officers and to make sure it remains transparent.
Hector Balderas, who chairs the eight-member board that oversees the academy, said Tuesday the move was to reassure the public that law enforcement officers are prepared and the board should focus on that.
“I would hate any policy to be compromised by some violation of the Open Meetings Act,” the attorney general said at the Espanola meeting.
Outgoing board member Nate Korn sought to restrict public comments to the board over concerns that the process had been disorganized in the past. He suggested that only the academy director and board members could decide what topics would be discussed at future board meetings.
“I’m not trying to limit the public from having interaction with us,” Korn said. “I’m just saying that we need to have an organized system.”
Korn’s proposal received support from New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas, the board’s vice chairman.
“If 30 people call in, how do we do business?” Kassetas asked. “How do we address the public’s needs and the board’s business?”
Balderas announced the formation of two subcommittees to examine the challenges officers face and to make sure the board is compliant with transparency laws.
The board heard from family members of those shot and killed by officers who called for reforms. In addition, the board heard from critics of police departments who have sought better training.
“Today’s public input was very helpful, and we will do a critical analysis of all the training law enforcement receives to ensure that it is appropriate, updated and culturally sensitive,” Balderas said.
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