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Puerto Rico 2017

Plans to deploy six Spanish-speaking Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) volunteers to Puerto Rico to assist with law enforcement duties in the wake of Hurricane Maria have been placed on hold. The LCPD received notice Thursday (10/5/2017) from the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management (DHSEM) that larger contingents of personnel were needed per agency, and that LCPD’s group would be placed in the queue for possible deployment at a later time.

“We were all set to go,” said Police Chief Jaime Montoya. “Our guys were packed, are travel orders were issued and our enthusiasm was high when we received word that we would have to stand down.”

The LCPD’s planned deployment was in response to a request from the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency for 1,500 bilingual law enforcement officers.

“DHSEM told us that contingents of up to 90 people at a time were needed. So bigger cities with larger police departments will be utilized,” said City Manager Stuart C. Ed. “Our group will remain on stand-by should they be needed later. The bottom line is, Puerto Rico issued a call for help and we answered that call.

”The volunteer officers are:
Sgt. Jaime Quezada, 21-year veteran
Sgt. Thaddeus Allen, 9-year veteran
Ofc. Jose Prado, 10-year veteran
Ofc. Joshua Herrera, 9-year veteran
Ofc. Manny Soto, 9-year veteran
Ofc. Charli Velasco, 2.5-year veteran

Both Ed and Montoya reiterated their thanks to the volunteers and their families. The contingent was scheduled to fly to San Juan as early as Friday.