At Thursday’s Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting, all law enforcement was honored with a proclamation in support of Police Week and Law Enforcement Memorial Week.
Congress and the president of the United States have designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week of May 14-20 as National Police Week.
“The members of the Rio Rancho Police Department play an essential role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms of those in the city of Rio Rancho,” Mayor Gregg Hull said. “And whereas it is important that all citizens know and understand the duties, responsibilities, hazards and sacrifices of the Rio Rancho Police Department and that the members of the city’s police department recognize their duty to serve the people by safeguarding their life and property by protecting against violence and disorder and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression.”
RRPD Chief Stewart Steele accepted the proclamation from the mayor and thanked the governing body for supporting RRPD. He also praised the department and his officers.
“I would say that the officers that work at the Rio Rancho Police Department are some of the best I’ve ever worked with,” Steele said. “And I’ve worked departments across the nation, so I’m very proud of them.”
At 10 a.m. May 18, the city of Rio Rancho and the Rio Rancho Police Department will be hosting a memorial ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park to honor the police officers that made the ultimate sacrifice and dedicated their lives to the safety and protection of the community. Steele mentioned three officers who will be honored at the ceremony.
“We will be recognizing and mentioning our fallen officers here from the Rio Rancho Police Department: Germaine Casey, Anthony Haase and Greg ‘Nigel’ Benner,” Steele said. “If you want to come and join us, you’re all welcome. I don’t ever want to stop saying their names because I don’t want anyone to forget the sacrifices made for all of us.”
Casey succumbed to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident providing an escort for President George W. Bush in 2007. The accident occurred on Sunport Boulevard adjacent to the Albuquerque International Airport.
Casey had served with the Rio Rancho police department for two years and had previously served with the University of New Mexico Police Department.
Haase was killed in a single-vehicle crash near the intersection of Idalia Road and NM 528 while responding to a domestic violence call at approximately 3 a.m. in 2014.
Haase was sworn in as police officer only five months earlier, but had worked for the Rio Rancho Police Department for one year.
Benner was shot and killed while making a traffic stop near the intersection of Pinetree and Southern at approximately 8:15 p.m.
Benner was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Rio Rancho Police Department for four years.