Gov Vows Resources For Crime Checks
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is requiring probation/parole officers to conduct searches of parolees using a national crime database. Richardson ordered that the searches become mandatory on March 27 following the killing of Bernalillo County sheriff’s Deputy James McGrane.
Michael Paul Astorga–the chief suspect in the case–met with his probation/parole office just two days after the murder. However, the probation/parole officer was not aware that Astorga had an arrest warrant for the murder because the officer did not check the National Crime Information Center database.
Officials noted that probation/parole officers only conduct infrequent searches of the database. In addition, only a small number of parole officers in the state have the certification required to use the database.
American Probation and Parole Officer Association President Mark Carey believes the problem could be resolved by requiring routine checks of the database or by using technology that would send alerts to probation/parole officers when parolees are stopped by officers. However, officials said implementing the latter approach suggested by Carey would costs millions of dollars.
The order issued by Richardson makes checks of the database a routine part of probation/parole officers’ responsibilities during meetings with parolees.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Albuquerque Journal (03/28/06) P. A1; Nash, Kate; Shepard, Maggie.