Rep. Lujan Grisham Calls On DOE To Suspend APD Access To National Training Center Coyote Canyon

Members of the Wackenhut Services Inc. Oak Ridge team sprint for the next station in the Super Team competition in 2008 at the National Training Center known as Coyote Canyon. The last team member is carrying a 40-lb simulated special nuclear material canister. Courtesy/DOE


ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., has asked the U.S. Department of Energy to review an agreement that gives Albuquerque Police officers and academy recruits access to a federal training facility at Kirtland Air Force Base designed for elite federal security personnel who protect the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Lujan Grisham also has asked DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz to suspend APD’s access to the National Training Center, known as Coyote Canyon, and its classes and resources, during the review.

“The NTC uses highly trained instructors to provide military-style training to federal agents and members of the military to ensure that our nation’s nuclear weapons and facilities are safe and secure,” Lujan Grisham said in her letter to Moniz. “While I understand the necessity of that type of training for nuclear security personnel, I question the value of extending the same training and DOE resources to local law enforcement agencies.”

Lujan Grisham pointed out to Moniz that the Department of Justice found that APD engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional use of excessive force, including deadly force.

“The DOJ has directed APD to make investments in de-escalation and crisis-intervention training that are intended to protect the health and safety of both the person in crisis and the officer involved,” Lujan Grisham said. “Those investments encourage a community-oriented mindset that supports constitutional policing practices. I fully support APD’s access to this and other training that they need to protect themselves and the public. However, I question why APD recruits have the same access to the classes and facilities as the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Forces, the U.S. Secret Service, and elite, specially-trained federal agents who train to protect nuclear facilities against terrorist attacks.”

You can read the full text of Lujan Grisham’s letter HERE .