As a Mounted Patrol Officer, I worked with the Dona Ana Sheriff's deputies and state police officers that live in the Chaparral area for many years. Two of our best Mountieshave beenlong-time residents of Chaparral.
The "citizen's posse" that was formed in Chaparral several years ago became a problem for law enforcement in that they did not answer to anyone and claimed to be approved by the county sheriff, which was not true. They were individuals acting on their own and none of them knew enough about the laws to stay out of trouble. In some instances when we conducted drug raids some of them would show up with guns and we had no idea who they were. In a couple of instances they showed up and actually damaged the crime scene we were guarding, by walking into the crime area without permission. One of our Mounted Patrol officers at that time (she has sincemoved away) was heading up the "citizens patrol" without mypermission (I was her commander at the time). Her involvement eventually led me to suspend her from the Mounted Patrol and she resigned. In a few cases, we suspected someone in the "citizens posse" was tipping off the drug dealers of our pending raids.
For many years the state police have had at least one officer and the Dona Ana Sheriff hasadeputy and Otero County Sheriff has a deputy living in Chaparral. With the knowledge from these individuals and the two Mounties in the area, we have been able to hit the area with numerous, very successful,drug raids over the past several years. I have participated in several of those raids as a Mounted Patrol officer working for the state police.
As for protecting the public, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is the responsibility of the law enforcement to protect the community as a whole, but not necessarily the individuals. That makes sense as there are not enough police officers to provide personal protection to everyone. That is what personal bodyguards are for. Also, as Americans, it is our personalresponsibility to protect ourselves, that is why our forefathers were wise enough to insist on the originalTen Amendments to our Constitution and especially the Second Amendment.
As for the officers' lack of knowledge ofour gun laws, I can say this in their defense: A police officer is like any other professional (including physicians) when they first get into their profession, they are not experts on all the laws (there are thousands of them) they must enforce. Over a period of several years, they become very knowledgeable of the laws they encounter on a regular basis. Frankly, the only big problem with firearms violators is occuring amoungfelons and gang-bangers that are prohibited by law from being in posession of a firearm. The law-abiding citizen is not a problem.
Few officers have had the time to study in great detail the firearms laws as we discuss themon these forums, so it behoves us as citizens to studyour firearms laws in detail and then abide by them, rather than try to test them with our officers. (They are on our side.)
Aren't you glad you live in a state that has few gun laws? I am, and I know them very well.