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City employees to replace Socorro police on code compliance patrols
By: Stacey Welsh
SOCORRO, Texas -- New city employees will soon put more police officers out on the streets in Socorro. The city plans to start the hiring process for two new code compliance employees in January.
Two police officers currently enforce code compliance, but they are required to do that in addition to patrols.
"If there's a need that arises where an accident with injuries happens, then they'll break away and handle it as a patrol officer," Socorro Police Sgt. Eddie Smith said.
Smith said once the city hires code compliance employees, those officers will move to patrols full time.
"Our code enforcement officers will train them. They will also need to go to specialized training, and then we will always assist them," Smith said.
While some residents told KFOX14 they don't see many code compliance issues where they live, they think the change is a good idea.
"As long as they don't interfere with us, I believe that's OK. I don't see why not," Socorro resident Jorge Padilla said.
More officers on the streets also means SPD is focusing on crime prevention in Socorro neighborhoods. That includes helping residents start neighborhood watch programs and increasing presence.
"Having crime prevention, we'll be able to address the issues that they see are important, and then get the community more involved, so that we can build up the trust within the community," Smith said.
"It's always good to get involved with any issue that's going on. You always can make a difference," Padilla said.
Smith also said the police department is always short-staffed.
"It would be great if we had 50 or 60 officers. We'd be able to do lots of programs, but we're very limited, and we're still going to do the best that we can," Smith said.