Rio Rancho’s Police Department waits to see how the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act will affect officers’ work and safety.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the act, Senate Bill 5, into law Tuesday. It authorizes law enforcement to file a petition in state court to suspend access to firearms if a suspect is believed to be an imminent danger to themselves or the public.
RRPD Capt. Andrew Rodriguez said there is a lot of speculation across the state from different agencies about the law.
“We will follow the law, whatever the law of the land is,” he said.
RRPD will develop policies and protocols in compliance with the act. Developing new policies will come from observation of and interaction with the law, Rodriguez said.
“There is actually a lot to review within the extreme risk protection order. In the act, to really assess, we have to put it into play. We have to see how our officers have to deal with it before we really know if it’s going to be a challenge to us,” he said.
Rodriguez said RRPD strives to be in compliance with state and federal law and does not want to make any speculation.
“Sometimes we have to perform a balancing act between the need for the public and what the law allows us to do, and ensuring that we do what is best for everybody here in the community. I think that is going to be the biggest challenge,” he said.
There are concerns of an officer getting hurt with any call they respond to, Rodriguez said.
“There are parts within the extreme risk warrant that may be a challenge for law enforcement in general throughout the state; again we won’t know until we actually develop a protocol for it,” he said.
Under the new law, family members and other acquaintances, such as a boss, friend or ex-spouse, can request law enforcement to file a petition. If the officer declines, they will have to file a notice with the county sheriff.
A 10-day risk protection order can be placed on a person if probable cause is found. Individuals will have 48 hours to surrender their firearms to officials. After the 10-day hold, firearms will be returned to their owners.
During the 10-day hold a court hearing is held to assess if circumstances require a one-year risk protection order to be placed on an individual.
New Mexico is the 18th state to enact an extreme risk protection order.
The law will take effect May 20, if court challenges don’t delay it.