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The original item was published from 8/12/2022 4:53:24 PM to 8/12/2022 5:01:59 PM.

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Police Department

Posted on: August 12, 2022

[ARCHIVED] A community letter from the police chief

From the Chief with patch (website)

Dear Roswell Community,

I believe it is time to impart some crime statistics to our anxious community. Recently we have had an unacceptable number of juvenile-involved homicides, as well as a shooting perpetuated by a juvenile shoplifter. 

Regardless of the ages of the perpetrators and victims, homicides in Roswell are almost always associated with participation in the criminal ethos here in the City of Roswell. Each individual who became an unfortunate decedent was involved in criminal events either before or during the final incident. Stealing, illicit drug usage, and burglary were the themes before the current violent shooting incidents. It is ever so important that some juvenile offenders are adjudicated as adults to prevent re-offending and re-victimization.

It should be noted the perpetrators in every one of Roswell’s 2022 homicides were found and arrested. Where does the City of Roswell go from here? It all starts in the New Mexico Legislature. Legislators need to know that horrific juvenile offenses require specific and specialized consequences. Our courts are handcuffed with response matrixes set by the Legislature, and our District Attorney’s Office is overworked and understaffed. We suffer from recidivism (repeat offenders) and a “handcuffed” judicial system. Our offenders are allowed to return to the street without remediation or rehabilitation until they have hurt several victims. 

This is not just a Roswell community problem; this is a New Mexico problem. If you read the papers, it is mid-August and Albuquerque has had 102 homicides. If you use ratios, you could see that city is on a pace to reach 163 by the end of the year. Roswell has had 5 homicides, which is down by 4 homicides from this same time last year. We (Roswell) are on a pace to reach a total of 8 homicides by year’s end. 

Roswell is 1/9th the size of Albuquerque, so you can use a multiplier of 9 to assess with equity between Roswell and Albuquerque. Using the projected end-of-year figures that were just mentioned, Roswell would figuratively have 72 homicides to Albuquerque’s 163, or if the multiplier is reduced by 9, which brings Albuquerque’s size to that of Roswell, Roswell will finish with 8 homicides for 50,000 people while Albuquerque would have 18.1 homicides per every 50,000 citizens. We here in Roswell are not even close to what is going on in Albuquerque. 

Part I crimes are those reported to the State of New Mexico, and onward to the FBI databases. Those crimes are homicide, assault/battery, forcible rape, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. 

As of July here in Roswell, we have had 1,282 Part I crimes reported, with 44% of that number being larcenies and 35% of that number being assaults/batteries. Roswell homicides make up .004% of the overall Roswell Part I crime rate. The order of occurrence frequency of each crime category from most to least in Roswell is: larceny, assault/battery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, forcible rape, robbery, and homicide.         

Since 2014, Roswell has had a 55% drop in overall Part I crimes reported. In 2014, Part I crimes totaled 4,201, resulting in a figure of 84.02 crimes per thousand residents. In 2021, the overall number was 1,889, with 37.78 crimes per thousand. Our goal is to cut that crimes-per-thousand number in half during the next five to 10 years. 

As I stated earlier, this crime number reduction over the past seven to eight years is the product of deliberate community outreach, establishing agency expectations based on stakeholders, city management, community input, and watching the failings of other agencies in both our state and nationwide. We constantly train, and train our trainers.

We are pursuing national accreditation and establishing our own satellite police academy.

We at the Roswell Police Department take all sources of input and use the information to fashion an organizational plan that seeks to accomplish our organizational vision. 

We have 5 openings at the RPD (5% vacancy when the nationwide average is 10%).

We have been afforded funding for 5 additional positions, already budgeted.

We use cutting-edge tactics and training such as “Fair and Impartial Policing.”

We hire and recruit to reflect our Roswell community.

We teach guardianship from hire date through field training and in all personnel moves.

We hold our personnel accountable well before an outside entity registers a complaint. 

We pursue and develop relationships with our community and all parties in our community.

We attend to personnel needs as best we can within budgetary fiscal responsibilities.

We attend to the community needs, from simple traffic saturation patrol to major issues such as illicit drugs, behavioral health matters, and homelessness concerns as best as we can.

We have strategic plans, budgetary plans, succession plans, and an agency Vision to be the best police agency in New Mexico.

It is emphasized and always repeated that the impactful reasons for our successes are that we enjoy unwavering support from our Roswell community, city management, our City Council, and our mayor. We also have the most passionate, hard-working employees who are community servants at the Roswell Police Department. 


Respectfully submitted, to our Roswell community,

Philip A. Smith Jr., Ph.D. 

Chief of Police 

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