Neighborhood associations paying off-duty police for patrols

Posted at: 10/24/2012 9:30 PM
Updated at: 10/25/2012 8:28 AM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News

Some neighborhood associations in Albuquerque are paying off-duty police officers to patrol their neighborhoods to prevent property crime.

Onate Neighborhood Association in the Northeast Heights near Indian School and Juan Tabo is just one of these associations.

Stan Hafenfeld is the president for the Onate Neighborhood Association and he said the over $200 they pay a month to the city is well spent.

"I think I've noticed a difference because I've been here 40 years and I've been broken into a couple of times into my garage and my vehicle prior to these patrols," Hafenfeld said.

Hafenfeld had over $2500 in Boy Scouts equipment stolen during the burglary. He said the money the association pays give him a peace of mind.

"It is worth having some patrols every month, if it costs us two or $300 every month, especially if someone gets broken into and they lose $500 to $1000 worth of gear," Hafenfeld said.

The police officers volunteer for the extra money, but they can only volunteer for up to 20 hours a month of off-duty police overtime.

When a neighborhood association or commercial business requests the service, they pay a fee to the city, which is used to pay the officers involved.

Stan Hafenfeld's group pays $103 for two separate two-hour patrols by off-duty officers.

"It's nice to live in a neighborhood where you don't have to look out your windows all the time and worry about what's going on," Hafenfeld said.

But not every neighborhood has an association or can afford to foot the bill for these costs.

Hope Swinford lives farther south on Juan Tabo toward 1-40. She said her neighborhood does not have an association, but even if they did, she had her own opinion of the plan.

"I don't think we need to pay the city extra money to have that protection. I think we pay enough taxes that we would have that protection," Swinford said.

The Albuquerque Police Department said the money paid for the programs is not through tax dollars, but rather, comes from the private accounts of whomever needs the additional patrolling.