People in Rio Rancho enjoy the benefit of a low crime rate and the feel of a safe environment for our families. Our public safety department has the challenge of maintaining that quality while keeping up with the growth of our city on a budget that has not grown with the population.
Questions and Answers:
Why do we need more first responders?
1. We had a 16% increase in the number of criminal offenses in 2012. 2. The city has grown 72% since the year 2000, while the police grew by only 26%. 3. During 2012, there were 140 times that all ambulances were out responding to calls, and 30 more instances of 911 calls which command persons or mutual aid providers from other communities had to respond for us. 4. Cost of your insurance for a home or business will likely increase due to downgraded ISO rating unless we address it now. For example, a home insurance policy covered for $165k would increase $181/year with an ISO rating of 6, compared to our current rating of 3. 5. Overburdened police and fire rescue departments mean longer response times to 911 calls.
What is needed today to get public safety on track, according to the police and fire departments?
1. 42 additional police officers at a 1st year officer cost of $63k/each plus a vehicle, a total of $2,646,000/year. 2. 24 additional firefighters at a 1st year firefighter/EMT cost of $66k/each, a total of $1,584,000/year.
What other problems does our Public Safety department face due to budget constraints?
Manpower aside, another major problem with the low budget is cost of repairing old equipment or purchasing new equipment, and maintaining facilities. Both the firefighters and the police are making do with equipment that should be replaced, but cannot afford to do so.