I could probably lift the headlines from the past and it would read very similar to today’s news; Repeat DWI offender arrested again; Metro Court convictions for DWI’s nosedive; Feds: $400K to fight DWI misspent on VIP escorts; Sheriff’s department under state investigation for DWI spending.
The sad truth is New Mexico is experiencing an increase in deaths. After slow progress in decreasing deaths and now to see this 14% increase over the past four years, is unacceptable. Some would have us think we are making progress, when the truth is: our death rate is too high. It is a disservice to the victims whose loved ones are killed and injured in a crime that is preventable.
The trend can be attributed to several things – lack of strong enforcement (arrests are the lowest in our history of tracking them(1985)), lack of effective prosecution of offenders (weak plea deals are connected to high recidivism rates), lack of judicial accountability (in Metro Court alone 52.5% dismissal rate – they should be ashamed!), state and local agencies mismanaging millions of dollars intended for curtailing DWI death and injury.
So, what will it take to get us moving in the right direction?
It takes all of us – demanding accountability – from state agencies, local DWI Planning Councils, the Courts, Prosecutors, and Law Enforcement agencies. Demand the funds allocated for DWI enforcement and prevention be used effectively – using data identifying areas to address and research to provide the solutions to reduce the DWI death and injuries. Our current state of affairs is killing way too many people – they are preventable deaths, let’s prevent them! We need effective leadership to address the law enforcement manpower shortages, better management in the prosecutors office and holding judges accountable for allowing the defense’s games to make it a win for them and a loss for the rest of us in the community. Let’s level the playing field – the Constitution was not written to only protect the accused, it includes us law-abiding citizens as well.
I, personally will be back in monitoring the courts, if you wish to join me please contact me.
Thanks for listening – let’s do some good work this week – stay safe and be well!