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Volunteer Bilingual Las Cruces Police Officers Headed for Duty in Puerto Rico 2017

A team of six Spanish-speaking members of the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) are scheduled to fly out of El Paso as early as Friday to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico to assist with law enforcement and other public security duties.

The deployment is in response to a request from the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency for 1,500 bilingual law enforcement officers.

“I received notice from the U.S. Conference of Mayors that Puerto Rico needed the assistance of bilingual law enforcement officers,” said Mayor Ken Miyagishima. “I immediately contacted our city manager and police chief about mobilizing local resources.”

The volunteer officers are:

  • Sgt. Jaime Quezada, 21-year veteran
  • Sgt. Thaddeus Allen, 9-year veteran
  • Ofc. Jose Prado, 10-year veteran
  • Ofc. Joshua Herrera, 9-year veteran
  • Ofc. Manny Soto, 9-year veteran
  • Ofc. Charli Velasco, 2.5-year veteran

The police department reports avid interest among the ranks in response to the call for volunteers.

“Part of the beauty of our community is that we have a large Spanish-speaking population and our police force has a large percentage of Spanish-speaking officers,” said City Manager Stuart C. Ed. “That places us in a unique position to help Puerto Rico with its request for assistance. I extend my thanks to the six volunteers and their families, Police Chief Jaime Montoya and the entire police department for their willing participation. I anticipate a six-week deployment.”

"I am very proud that our officers are willing to dedicate their time to this worthy cause and help the citizens of Puerto Rico,” said Police Chief Jaime Montoya. “This shows their commitment and human kindness not just to our citizens, but citizens everywhere. My thoughts, prayers and well wishes go out to the citizens of Puerto Rico and my officers as they deploy."

The Las Cruces contingent will fly into San Juan where they will team up with Puerto Rican law enforcement authorities.

Also, the Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) received a special request from the Puerto Rico Emergency Office Center (EOC) for volunteer Spanish-speaking firefighters to work in the EOC, but was later informed that the assignment had already been filled, so LCFD will not be deploying any personnel to Puerto Rico.