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On eve of 9/11 anniversary, Doña Ana County readies for emergencies

In the event of an emergency, it is crucial that an officer’s tools function properly.

“The anniversary of 9/11 reminds us that emergency cooperation is critical,” said Cullen Combs, the emergency manager for Las Cruces and Doña Ana County.

“That’s the thing,” said Andy Bowen, the Deputy Chief of New Mexico State University Police. “You always have to be prepared. You have to be vigilant.”

Multiple agencies tested their radio communication systems on Tuesday, including the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, Las Cruces Police, New Mexico State Police, New Mexico State University Police, Homeland Security, the U.S. Border Patrol and American Medical Response.

“Anytime there’s a major incident, communication is critical,” Bowen said.

“Just what happened last month in El Paso, Texas,” Cullen said. “You will have what’s called a multi-agency response.”​

New Mexico has also seen criminal activity that requires a multi-agency response.

In June, a man opened fire on two Las Cruces police officers and a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputy. In the early hours of the morning, multiple agencies responded, including federal authorities.

“With that shooting, we had U.S. Border Patrol responding to that in their early morning hours,” said Jeff Mayfield, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Department of Homeland Security. “They need to be able to communicate with the state and local partners to let them know they’re in route and help is on the way.”

The agencies are still evaluating the data, but have identified their communication gaps and are moving forward to address them, according to Doña Ana County.

“There was some confidence instilled, but there will be issues that we address,” Combs said.

Regarding the anniversary of 9/11, the city of Las Cruces and New Mexico State University will host a Patriot Day Ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on the west end of the horseshoe on campus.

KVIA 2019

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