LAS CRUCES – The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has temporarily contracted with a private security company to monitor city parks and ensure compliance with COVID-19 health guidance and restrictions.
Two Sun-News reporters have observed a private security car patrolling Klein Park for at least the last week.
When asked, Las Cruces Communications Director Mandy Guss said the parks department had contracted with a private company.
“Our Parks Department did contract some security around a couple parks to help enforce the public health orders — specifically no gatherings larger than five (people),” Guss said in a statement. “Several parks were being monitored over Halloween, and the patrols were kept through the Veterans Day holiday.”
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Guss wasn’t immediately able to questions about which parks were being patrolled.
The car belonged to Security Concepts Inc., a private security company in Las Cruces. Manager Mike Gonzales said the company had been contracted for the last two weeks to patrol several parks and ask people to comply with social distancing and face mask guidance.
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Gonzales said the contract was ending soon, unless the city chose to extend it. No other details on the contract, such as its exact length and cost, were immediately available.
All of the city’s parks and trails are open, but the public is asked to follow social distancing and other COVID-conscious health guidelines when visiting. Masks are required, even when exercising, and gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.
Security Concepts doesn’t have the power to issue citations, Gonzales said. He said his officers hadn’t encountered any problems, but that any problem that arose would lead to a call to the Las Cruces police or to the New Mexico State Police.
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While the Las Cruces Police Department is allowed to enforce the state’s public health orders and the city’s local mask requirements, spokesperson Dan Trujillo told the Sun-News Tuesday that zero citations had been issued for violating face-mask requirements within city limits.
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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Parks and Recreation hires private security to help enforce virus restrictions at parks