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Police Deployment in Puerto Rico Extended 2017

The deployment of the six Las Cruces police officers who volunteered to assist with law enforcement duties in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria has been extended two weeks. The officers, who departed Nov. 10 for a 14-day deployment were scheduled to return Nov. 25. Las Cruces Police Chief Jaime Montoya, who has been in regular communication with the officers, says the deployment is going well. He says the officers are assigned to the Humacao area and are working with state police there assisting with traffic control at major intersections. However, Montoya says the Las Cruces officers have also served as back-up for calls involving looting, traffic stops, crashes, crisis intervention involving a barricaded subject and negotiator, back-up on a drug deal that resulted in a foot pursuit, welfare checks and other civil matters. Montoya reports the officers are working long days but that their presence is helping improve the morale of residents. He says the officers have quickly adapted to the culture of the island and that the people of Puerto Rico have been gracious and appreciative. He also says cell and internet service remains sporadic.

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

They are working with state police personnel from Boston, New Jersey, Montana and New York. The Las Cruces officers are now expected to return on or about Dec. 9.