Chief of Police Serves on New Mexico Organized Crime Commission

© Western New Mexico University

WNMU Chief of Police Eddie Flores (BS ’08, MBA ’15) has a long career in law enforcement, but his experience has recently taken a new direction as a member of the New Mexico Organized Crime Commission. This commission has existed in the state since the 1970s but was not meeting in recent years. In 2023, however, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham felt it was time to reconstitute it.

According to Flores, the timing of bringing the commission back correlates with the frequency and nature of crimes that are occurring in the state. “New Mexico, like every other state, has been experiencing problems with human trafficking, sex trafficking, illegal guns and, of course, illegal drugs,” he said. “I think that the reason the governor wanted to bring the commission back was the increase in crime, especially up in Albuquerque.”

The purpose of the commission, which meets once a month, is to bring together the various agencies—local, state, and federal—that are needed for a comprehensive approach to organized crime. So far, there have been several high-profile cases that the commission has been involved with.

The membership of the commission includes district attorneys, a former NM Supreme Court justice, a federal marshal, and other law enforcement and public safety experts. While the commission represents diverse backgrounds, most of the members are from the northern half of the state. Of the seven members, said Flores, “I am the only member south of I-40. Everybody else is either in the metro [area] of Albuquerque or is up north. … I think that is important because I see it as representing the southern part of the state.”

Flores’ professional experience in southern New Mexico is likely the reason he was chosen to serve. “I think I was chosen for the commission because of my experience with the State Police dealing with the border issues along the southern part of New Mexico,” he said.

Flores’s experience includes serving in the New Mexico State Police at the outset of what is now called Operation Stonegarden, a FEMA-funded grant program meant to enhance cooperation and coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to improve overall border security.

That operation, as well as an emergency proclamation by former Gov. Bill Richardson, said Flores, increased the “forces along the border because of so many illegal crossings—immigrants dying on the route over because it is so rural and dry, and it is hard terrain down there.”

Flores, who is a Silver City native, retired from the New Mexico State Police as the Captain of Division 12, which encompasses the southwest part of the state, and he became Chief of Police for WNMU in 2008.

Even before being selected to serve on the New Mexico Organized Crime Commission, Flores has had other opportunities to serve the community beyond his role as Chief of Police. He was recently part of the Silver Consolidated School Board and he is currently running for the Grant County Board of Commissioners.

“I quickly learned when I was a lot younger that it is easier to make a difference when you become part of the solution,” he said of his motivation to serve. “You represent your community by being in that position. I learned by serving on many boards, and especially the school board, to always put what I would want as a parent—to be fair, to create a better environment for learning and for safety—first.”

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