Speaker Martínez to Convene Law Enforcement, Elected Leaders, Community Advocates

on Public Safety and Behavioral Health Solutions 

Albuquerque, N.M. - Today, New Mexico House Speaker Javier Martínez announced that he will convene law enforcement officials, state and city leaders, and community advocates to develop carefully vetted policy solutions to improve public safety and address mental and behavioral health needs in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico. 

This working group will build on the progress made by leaders from law enforcement, city and county agencies, faith communities, and advocacy organizations who held a series of meetings last summer to address youth involvement in gun violence. 

One of the group’s primary charges will be to develop and vet solutions to improve the efficacy of New Mexico’s criminal justice and behavioral health systems, including ensuring court-ordered mental health treatment is available to those who need it. These conversations will inform lawmakers as they craft policy proposals ahead of next year’s 60-day legislative session. 

“In recent sessions, we’ve made significant progress to keep dangerous individuals off of our streets, keep firearms out of the wrong hands, and increase penalties for violent offenses, while also working to address the root cause of crime. But we know more work needs to be done,” said Speaker Martínez. “We’re going to keep bringing together all stakeholders, including our grassroots community leaders, to tackle crime from all angles and put forward meaningful solutions that improve public safety throughout New Mexico.” 

“We all want to make our communities safer. We also want to make sure that when our neighbors are struggling with substance use or mental health issues, they can get the help they need,” said New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Briana H. Zamora. “Connecting the dots between law enforcement, the judiciary, community leaders, and policymakers is exactly what we need to develop effective solutions that will make a meaningful difference for families across our state.”

“It will take all hands on deck to address the crime and addiction plaguing our streets and overwhelming our criminal justice system,” said District Attorney Sam Bregman. “We need to work together to address the realities we’re facing on the ground, so we can get help to those who need it now.” 

“Those of us who work in law enforcement understand the urgency of addressing the crime and addiction overwhelming Albuquerque’s streets, which are consequences of the gaps in our mental and behavioral healthcare systems. This situation is indeed an emergency for our community; however, we cannot afford to rush policy decisions,” said Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen. “It’s imperative that we bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to ensure we’re making informed, comprehensive decisions. This is a situation where many need to have a seat at the table so we don’t get this wrong. By collaboratively strengthening both our criminal justice and behavioral health systems, we aim to prevent individuals in need from becoming a danger to themselves or others.”

"For nearly a decade, it has been clear that the primary root cause of so many of our city's challenges is addiction. We appreciate any effort to bolster treatment options and behavioral health services, and the work of our Community Safety and Health, Housing, and Homelessness departments as they help folks that are struggling with substance use or mental health issues,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “We will continue to work with our partners to bring solutions to the table to address these long-standing challenges in our community."

“By bringing the right people to the table and having hard conversations, we know we can make a difference,” said Allen Sánchez, President of CHI St. Joseph’s Children. “As faith leaders, we’re calling on community members to join this effort to make sure that those who are struggling can get on a path to recovery, while also protecting public safety.”

The group will meet through the legislative interim to thoroughly evaluate the efficacy of proposed policies, with group members taking recommendations back to their respective organizations. 

Ahead of the 2025 Legislative Session, Speaker Martínez and House Democrats will make policy and budget recommendations to interim committees on what action the legislature can take to address these challenges. 

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