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Berry Calls for Tougher Laws

Berry Calls for Tougher Laws

State Rep. Paul Pacheco, a former Albuquerque police officer, said he'll introduce legislation to make more crimes subject to the state's three strikes law.

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

Flanked by law enforcement officials and state legislators, Mayor Richard Berry on Thursday called for a concerted and bipartisan effort to protect police officers and keep violent, repeat offenders off the streets and behind bars.

Berry and two lawmakers proposed three legislative changes to keep those career criminals off the streets: making assaults against police officers hate crimes, adding more crimes to the state’s three strikes law, and passage of a constitutional amendment that would allow judges to deny bail to suspects they believe are a danger to the community.

“Every time an officer has to go out and rearrest [a violent repeat offender] it’s one more chance [for an officer to get hurt],” Berry said during a news conference in the Mayor’s office. “Let’s make this a better place to be a family and a worse place to be a criminal.”
State Rep. Nate Gentry, an Albuquerque Republican, said he’ll introduce legislation in January’s 30-day legislative session enhance the state’s hate crimes law to include crimes against police officers. He said he’ll also push for a constitutional amendment to allow judges to deny bail to suspected criminals they feel are a danger to the community.

State Rep. Paul Pacheco,  a former Albuquerque police officer, said he’ll introduce legislation to make more crimes subject to the state’s three strikes law. The law is so narrowly drawn that no one has been charged under it since it was enacted in 1994, Pacheco said.

“I’m committed to getting bipartisan support. I know the public wants this,” the Albuquerque Republican said. “We’re going after the 2 to 3 percent of criminals who commit most of the crimes.”

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Sara MacNeil is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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