by Victor Lopez
HOBBS--Police officers in Hobbs and Carlsbad say they need the District Attorney's office to do its job, so they can do theirs.
"That is a prosecutors job, to prosecute those cases and represent the citizens of Hobbs and the State of New Mexico," Hobbs Detective Rodney Porter said of the new policy.
As if traffic stops, accidents and other crimes weren't enough, police officers now have to prosecute their own misdemeanor cases. That's something they say, they aren't trained to do, "Officers do receive a bit of training on prosecuting your own cases at the academy. For misdemeanor cases, especially high court misdemeanor cases, that is the prosecutor's job," Porter explained.
Porter says, handling all those cases would take the officers off the street where they're needed, but it could also have a serious effect on the case itself, "If the officer doesn't understand the prosecutorial process cases could be lost because of that."
Officers are used to going to traffic court and appearing as witnesses in other cases. But now, the cases in question could be anything from theft to assault. Whatever it is, it's a no win situation for them and the victims.
"The citizens will be having some officer who's not trained, performing the function of an attorney. The officer, who is not trained, will be at the mercy of the defense attorney," Porter explained.
Porter hopes the District Attorney will reconsider her new policy so he and his partners can continue the job they were trained to do, "We're investigators. We're gatherers of the facts. We're not trained to present those facts in a court of law."