Los Lunas Police Department achieves accreditation

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Officials at the Los Lunas Police Department say their recent accreditation is a reflection of the positive work and team effort that puts them on par with only a handful of agencies in the state.

On Feb. 6, the New Mexico Law Enforcement Professional Standards Council Chairman Ray Schultz sent the department a congratulatory letter for its accreditation status for the next five years.

The department was graded by a team from the council in November and fulfilled a list of 217 standards that include policies and procedures in order to receive accreditation.

Los Lunas becomes the second department in Valencia County to receive the honor. The Belen Police Department was the first to become accredited in 2007. The Belen department has since renewed that status.

Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick said the achievement was a team effort.

He said over the past three years, he has helped guide the department to perform superior work in the community.

"It was a good department when I got here and it's a better department now," Melnick said. "It's more professional, moral is high and employees like to come to work."

Melnick said he helped create a drug task force and a traffic unit since he came on as chief in 2009.

A three-person team, made up of officers from across the state, graded Los Lunas to make sure every employee within the department was on the same page in regards to policies and procedures.

The final report stated that files were organized in an "excellent" manner, though some were placed in wrong categories, but were corrected by the time the team did its follow-up on Dec. 8.

In April, the Belen Police Department passed a similar process after the council reviewed all of the department's files from 2010.

Other law enforcement departments that are currently accredited include: Aztec, Portales, Los Alamos, Las Vegas and the McKinley County Sheriff's Office.

The final report said the department's administration is, "innovative, progressive and exceptionally knowledgeable" and have a strong belief in community policing, with methods such as bike patrol and the Segway. The council also called the department's criminal investigation section "exceptional" for using technology to discover computer crimes.

The department uses the Forensic Recovery Evidence Device, or FRED, that helps officers investigate crimes, such as child pornography and computer fraud.

The report said the special weapons and tactics team "is very well equipped and managed by an exceptional supervisory staff." Training, the report said, "appears to be modern and on a constant basis."

The outside team wasn't the only one to compliment Melnick and the department.

In an email to Melnick, Los Lunas Village Administrator Peter Fernandez said, "the accolades and positive comments throughout the report are a direct reflection of you and your management team's leadership and your very effective management style."

Fernandez said he especially liked the comment from the group that said the department "shows a strong commitment to their community and provides a high quality of law enforcement service."

The department's accreditation runs through 2017.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.