by John Earp
Jal Police Chief Mauricio Valeriano says traffic is still the main concern in Jal. When asked about the most important issues JPD faces, Valeriano said, “Whenever you’re living in an economy that’s robust and you have large amounts of traffic, it’s hard to dictate if there’s more speeders of different speeders. All that I can say is that the traffic is consistent. We’re probably one of the only cities that generate very, very high amounts of [traffic] fine value in their courts, but we’ve got to keep after these guys, and that’s all we can do.” When asked if the number of speeding tickets JPD has been issuing has increased, Valeriano said, “I’d say the numbers have been fluctuating, a little less than 100 [speeding tickets per month], but we’re trying different techniques. We’re setting up dummy cars, and doing small things like that, just to try to deter speeders.” When asked whether the City had considered putting radar signs up around town, Valeriano said, “No sir, but that’s something that the City has been talking about, trying to utilize technology and modern technology to try to help us solve some of the problems that we deal with every day.” Valeriano said the radar signs “do serve a good purpose and actually make people aware of their speed and what the speed is there. Hopefully we can get something like that going down here.” According to Valeriano, not paying attention to your speed is obviously one of the primary factors in accidents.
Valeriano said the Jal Police Department has also not seen an uptick in DUIs lately. He said, “I think last month we had 5 DUIs. Usually we’re ranging anywhere from two a month to about five. I wouldn’t say we have an increase in it.” Valeriano said that traffic violations continue to be the primary thing JPD has to deal with currently, with other crimes being “low and steady” in occurrence. He noted that recent instances where some residents’ vehicles were egged are being followed up. He said, “Could be a juvenile. Could be somebody within the school, or it could be somebody that has nothing to do with that. It’s one of those things that we’ll pursue. There were some people that sustained some vehicle damage to their paint, so we’ll pursue that. It just brings us back to good old police work and talking to people and gathering information. We have an officer inside the school which does a great job for us, and so that helps us a whole bunch, getting names and whatnot.” Valeriano did note that the department was recently involved in a very significant drug bust involving a major drug trafficking operation in southeastern New Mexico that allegedly included one Jal resident. (See the Lea County Sheriff’s Office Press Release from last Friday included in this edition of The Jal Record).