Police: Most effective tool is community assistance

Thomas Garcia

The Tucumcari Police Department will try to use new programs and equipment to offset crime in the new year, but police still say help from the community is their biggest asset in fighting crime.

The department has a new record keeping program, a new phone system, and will soon receive new patrol cars, said Police Chief Roger Hatcher.
“These new systems and programs will allow the department to better serve the community,” Hatcher said.

Another program is the assignment of an officer to Tucumcari High School, starting Jan. 5, to provide a police presence, Hatcher said.
“There were two shooting incidents that involved teenagers in 2008,” Hatcher said. “This is why we feel that having an officer in the high school is so important. Having the officer there to interact and communicate with the students may curb and change their perception of the police.”
Hatcher said that he is also looking into starting a cadet program to attract youth to careers in law enforcement.

“This is a job that you can do anywhere, they are always hiring,” Hatcher said. “Training in law enforcement can increase your skills and job worth in the work field.”

But the one tool that is the most effective in police work is having the community’s assistance, Hatcher said.

The department worked a lot of vandalism (138) and burglary, larceny and theft (282) calls this year, according to police records. Vandalism ranged from shooting out car windows and store front windows to graffiti.

Since April, there has been one case of vandalism every three days, the call records show.

A comparison of 2007 and 2008 call records could not be made because the old system is not compatible with a new record keeping system installed at the department in April, Hatcher said.

“The community is the eyes and ears of the department,” Hatcher said. “It will take a combination of police work and efforts from the community to curb these types of crimes. The public can help by being aware of what is going on in their neighborhoods.”