Members of the Los Alamos Police Department gather in Council Chambers. Courtesy/LAPD
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
What in the world do police do? Despite stereotype, it really isn’t eating doughnuts while waiting for the next speeder to zoom by.
What really does go on within the Los Alamos Police Department (LAPD) is detailed the department’s recently released annual report.
The 2019 report is available online at https://www.losalamosnm.us/government/departments/police
The report describes the police department from its structure to its operations.
The whole purpose of the annual report, Police Chief Dino Sgambellone said, is to educate the community about the department.
“I think, first and foremost, we want to show our commitment to the community … there’s a lot of things we do that the community might not be aware of,” Chief Sgambellone said.
He explained that the department is complex.
“It’s more than just police officers driving around town in cruisers,” Chief Sgambellone said. “There are a number of processes that come together and make the department what it is.”
For instance, it is highlighted in the annual report that LAPD operates the detention center and the animal shelter. Additionally, the report describes the work done in the community liaison unit; plus, it shines the spotlight on the department’s participation in the Special Olympics and other community programs.
Chief Sgambellone added that the annual report offers a historical perspective, too. He said it is interesting to look at previous annual reports to see how things have changed such as the roles of law enforcement and the police department.
He added that the annual report also serves as an effective recruiting tool. For individuals interested in working for the department, the annual report gives them an in-depth look at what police do as well as how much the community supports its local police, Sgambellone said.
The annual report also highlights many of the department’s achievements.
Chief Sgambellone wrote in his introduction that through the fourth quarter of 2019, officers responded to a total of 92 part one offense complaints, which is a 32 percent decrease from the 135 part one offenses they responded to in 2018. The chief reported that part one crime is believed to be the lowest in the department’s history. Additionally, he wrote that violent crime decreased by 20 percent from 2018 and 2019 and property crime fell 35 percent.
“I believe that recognizing our lowest crime rate in the department’s history last year is a combination of several factors such as partnerships and staff,” Chief Sgambellone said.
Some of these partnerships include collaborating with Los Alamos Public Schools to host Safety Town at the elementary school level. The police department also works with the school district through its school resource officers, he said.
Chief Sgambellone commended his staff, saying, “I’m very proud of the employees who come in to work every day ready to serve the community.”
He also complimented the community for its support.
“We have a great community – a supportive community,” Chief Sgambellone said.
Work on the annual report happens throughout the year, he said, but it doesn’t start in earnest until the beginning of the New Year.
Chief Sgambellone explained that various supervisors and sections contribute material to the report and Senior Office Specialist Lisa Gonzales compiles that material into the annual report.