Editorial: Thanks to Chief Trujillo

Posted 2/13/20

Community policing is a tough job, now more than ever, especially if it's in a town where you've spent years. Drugs, poverty and past traumas among Taos residents - along with the easy availability of guns - make every call a potentially dangerous one for law enforcement officers.

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Editorial: Thanks to Chief Trujillo

Posted

Community policing is a tough job, now more than ever, especially if it's in a town where you've spent years. Drugs, poverty and past traumas among Taos residents - along with the easy availability of guns - make every call a potentially dangerous one for law enforcement officers.

When they answer the call it is always a balance between upholding the letter of the law and protecting themselves while showing a measure of compassion. In a small town like Taos, officers usually know the person they arrest - it could be a neighbor, a cousin, a friend. Taos officers and detectives often know a suspect's circumstances, the background that landed them in the situation they're in, even their mental state.

Taos police and detectives don't always make arrests when the public believes they know who is guilty. Arresting someone is easy; having the evidence to back up charges in court isn't always so simple.

Officers aren't perfect. They're human. They make mistakes. They don't always respond the way the public thinks they should or in a timely manner. They have to be held to a higher standard because they have the power to arrest and to use a gun should they decide it is necessary. But every single day, they put their lives on the line to keep the community safe.

Who leads a law enforcement office is crucial in overseeing the well-being of the staff and those in the community. Taos Police Chief David Trujillo has done an admirable job. He's a steadying presence in public and under his watch his officers have diffused many situations that could have ended badly, with a suspect shot or someone else injured.

As he retires from law enforcement, he deserves thanks and appreciation for the long hours and careful management he's brought to the department. Best wishes in his next endeavor. Thank you, Chief, for your service.

The town is right to look first internally for his replacement to see if there is a qualified candidate who has come up through the ranks of the department. Town manager Rick Bellis will make the decision on who takes his place, after, he has said, he gets input from others at the Taos Police Department, the Taos Council and others.

May he choose wisely.

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