Looking at the life of New Mexico State Police Sgt. Joel Saenz Jr. one might think his career has come full circle as Eddy County was his first stop after graduating from the New Mexico State Police Academy nearly a decade ago.
The eight-year member of the State Police spent more than a year in Eddy County before undertaking other assignments in Chaves and Lea counties.
Saenz, 31, was promoted to sergeant on Jan. 9 of this year, said Ray Wilson, State Police spokesperson.
Originally from El Paso, Saenz presently oversees State Police operations in Eddy County.
What are your plans for the New Mexico State Police in Eddy County?
There’s a few plans I want to implement. We have (State Police) district guidelines that we can better ourselves with the community. Community engagement is a huge thing that’s limited due to the pandemic. I’m going to emphasize Coffee with a Cop. We’ll advertise it through our Department’s social media page, and it can also occur in smaller communities. Citizens who attend can make complaints, concerns or compliments concerning crime or traffic issues. We’ll do adopt a school; each patrolman will be assigned to schools and visit throughout the school year and we’ll also attend a school once a month so officers can eat with the children. Of course, it’s only as much as the pandemic will allow us to do it in the schools.
What do you see as the major crimes in Eddy County?
New Mexico State Police takes crimes seriously no matter if it’s a petty misdemeanor or first-degree felony. A major crime that we encountered in the uniform bureau is homicide by a vehicle while under the influence of liquor and/or any drug. New Mexico State Police will increase detection and apprehension of impaired drivers with DWI checkpoints, saturation patrols and regular daily patrol. Eddy County reached out to us last week and there’s an increase in larcenies of oil field equipment. So, we’ll be patrolling those areas for that reason.
How do you see the State Police’s role with other law agencies in Eddy County like Artesia, Carlsbad and Loving police and Eddy County Sheriff’s Office?
New Mexico State Police has always had a great working relationship with the police departments in Eddy County. Each department handles their own calls for service in their own respective jurisdictions. Therefore the New Mexico State Police role is to assist them in any capacity if called upon. But also vice versa when New Mexico State Police request assistance. We reach out to other hesitation to other police departments they’re willing to help us in any capacity needed. We collectively strive to pursue and ensure public safety across Eddy County. The public’s well being and protection is our No. 1 priority.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.