Following a surge in shootings and violent crime within the city, Roswell police teamed up with state and federal law enforcement in a two-night, citywide impact operation.
New Mexico State Police, Adult Probation and Parole, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI all had personnel who joined with the Roswell Police Department to serve arrest warrants, address an assortment of crimes and issue citations, Captain Kim Northcutt of the Roswell Police Department said.
He said the operation, which took place Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Wednesday from 7 p.m. to midnight, resulted in a total of 36 arrests by the RPD and State Police on charges ranging from probation violations by convicted felons to drug possession, illegal possession of firearms and failure to appear in court.
Seven firearms were seized as were a host of substances. Though they are awaiting lab results, Northcutt said those substances are believed to include cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine.
A message posted Thursday on the RPD’s Facebook page also stated that the operation led to the execution of eight search warrants — seven on vehicles and one residence — and the issuing of citations.
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Roswell Police Chief Phil Smith on Friday hailed the multi-agency operation as “very productive.”
“Got quite a bit of guns, quite a bit of drugs, a lot of arrests,” he said.
Northcutt said on the first night, a total of 35 RPD and State Police officers participated in the operation, while 40 did so on the second night.
Personnel from the RPD, he said, included members of the department’s patrol, Special Investigations and Criminal Investigations divisions.
He added that the RPD used both dogs from its K-9 unit, while State Police brought with them to Roswell five of their K-9s and a helicopter.
The operation comes after recent weeks marked by an increase in shootings throughout Roswell. Those include three shootings that occurred late Friday, Sept. 18 and early morning Sept. 19. Two of those left one person injured while the other left one man dead.
Smith said the string of shootings made him feel that the department needed help in dealing with the situation so he reached out to State Police in Santa Fe.
“And I called State Police and said ‘hey, I need some help down here,’” he said.
FBI agents were present, Northcutt said, in case the officers came across anything federal agencies would be better equipped to deal with.
Northcutt said the operation is similar to the impact operations the department has executed in troubled areas within the city.
Officers were split into two-member units, with officers assigned to one of four regions of the city to find and deal with any unlawful activity.
Northcutt said similar multi-agency operations could become more frequent in an age of budget constraints. Departments, he said, are constrained by how much overtime officers can work and sharing resources can help them get the manpower they need without having to worry about overtime costs.
He said doing so will require agreements with departments in different jurisdictions.
Smith added that more operations similar to those carried out Tuesday and Wednesday night are likely to happen in Roswell.
“We will do as many of these as we have to to ensure the safety and the security of our community,” he said.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or email@example.com.