Bowie an Excellent Choice for State Public Safety Secretary

by | Oct 19, 2021 | Editorials and Opinions

It’s no wonder that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently appointed Jason Bowie,
serving as Deputy Chief of the Rio Rancho Police Department (RRPD), as Secretary of
the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. To help prevent the violent incidents we
have seen around the country, the RRPD has taken positive steps to improve
procedures. If only other departments could follow RRPD’s example, we could stop
the police actions that resulted in death and injury for so many, including George Floyd.

In extraordinary transparency, RRPD posts its nearly 400 page Standards and
Procedures Manual on its website for citizens to learn what to expect from their RRPD.
RRPD emphasizes the value and importance of each human life, and trains all officers
in use of force standards including de-escalation and less lethal measures. Every
officer has a duty to intervene to prevent or stop unreasonable use of force. RRPD
also trains officers to recognize individuals with mental illness or developmental
disabilities, and on crisis intervention and de-escalation tactics.

RRPD requires that prisoners be handcuffed behind the back, and not be left lying face
down or in one position longer than reasonably necessary to gain control. RRPD
officers are not to restrain prisoners so that the prisoner cannot sit upright.

RRPD’s officers activate body-worn cameras in the field, and procedures for public
release of recordings have been established. Officers are instructed to respect the First
Amendment rights of citizens to record police activity and may not attempt to
intimidate or discourage individuals from recording. Importantly, all complaints, even
anonymous complaints of misconduct, are reviewed and investigated as appropriate.

Let’s hope that Secretary Bowie can spread the forward looking policies and
procedures practiced by RRPD around the State. Thank you for the great
appointment, Governor!

Gail Pinkepank,
Rio Rancho

The Oct. 17, 2021 issue of the Rio Rancho Observer printed this letter from Ms. Pinkepank, a member of the Research Team of the Democratic Party of Sandoval County.

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