FARMINGTON — San Juan Safe Communities Initiative's Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting eight pieces of legislation including a statewide sex offender registration act, passage of anti-gang legislation and implementation of a statewide biometrics system that would help law enforcement with identifications.

Board members agreed that the resolution was an important step forward in finding solutions for the gang, drug, violence and poverty issues affecting San Juan County.

"An organization like this one plays many different roles," said Tommy Roberts, Mayor of Farmington and secretary for the organization's board of directors. "One of those is advocacy. We identify the issues and find ways to deal with those issues."

Two issues generated significant discussion at Thursday morning's board meeting.

The first was the state sex offender registration act.

San Juan County's Region Two Narcotics Task Force, and other law enforcement projects across New Mexico, are getting less federal funding because no such act has been passed, said Mike Heal, Aztec Police Chief and Safe Communities board member.

"It's a 10-percent reduction (in funding) per year until it's passed," he said.

The proposal for a statewide biometrics system drew significant attention from Roberts, who missed a discussion session on the legislative topics last year.

The intent behind the biometrics system is to update identification methods used by law enforcement agencies across the state, said Rick Tedrow, 11th Judicial District Attorney and member of the board.


"New Mexico is a little behind the times," he said. "Fingerprints aren't the end all, be all anymore. A lot of states are using (biometrics)."

Safe Communities' Board of Directors began putting together the resolution in October 2012, said Dan Darnell, the organization's executive director and Farmington City Councilman.

"(The resolution) came from suggestions made by various board members," he said.

Now that the resolution passed, it will go to the organization's legislative committee, Darnell said. That committee will work with state legislators.

"We don't lobby anyone," Darnell said. "We're simply saying that these are the issues that are important to our community."