2011-03-09, NMSU Police Chief Jaime Chavez, Dynamics of Human Confrontation

At 12:08:30PM, President Richelle Ponder hit the bell creating a “dink” instead of a “dong.” Turns out she broke the gavel last week (fortunately Curt Coleman ducked in time to avoid the flying head) and it wasn’t fixed yet. With that explanation, she called the meeting to order. Bill Wheeler gave the invocation in the absence of Ivan Stubbs and President Richelle led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jim Maxon was again song leader and did a good job leading us in “Home On The Range.” Last week it was “Don’t Fence Me In”… Jim must like the wide open spaces.

After the weekly “grip and grin”, it was announced that Wanda Mattiace was the “Mystery Greeter”. There were no visiting Rotarians, but Gerald Thomas introduced his guest and two Student Rotarians were welcomed including Leland Sharp from Mayfield and Chris Ericson from Las Cruces High. President Richelle paid $5.00 in advance for any and all fines of the day.

Jim Maxon announced that he would be leaving for Guatemala later this month to work on a Rotary project with the Mayan Indians in the Highlands in areas of literacy, potable water, and other projects. To support Jim’s project, the club Board decided to devote the days’ can revenue to the project. As a result, the happy dollars flowed in. John Hernandez dropped a rather hefty amount in the can after relating how he beat two parking tickets. It was also announced that there would be a Gerald Thomas Appreciation Event at the New Mexico Heritage Farm and Ranch Museum on March 21. Proceeds will go to help returning war veterans.

Jaime Chavez and student Leland SharpThe Program

NMSU Police logoOur March program chair, Jim Maxon, returned to the podium and introduced our guest speaker, Jaime Chavez, Chief of the NMSU Police Department. Chief Chavez discussed how police officers deal with someone who has a weapon. He began by demonstrating reaction time and the difficulty in rapidly responding to an attack. He showed various defensive weapons including pepper spray, a pepper gun, and the Taser and discussed the pluses and minuses of each device. He noted the Taser is a delicate plastic weapon that so, the Taser demonstration was most effective. Barbara Andrew and Jaime ChavezChief Chavez then went on to explain why the officer must often use his gun as the primary defensive weapon and that when he does so, why he should shoot to kill and not to wound. Again, the primary reason was limited reaction time once the suspect attacks the officer. He noted that British Bobbies now carry guns and while they were originally taught to wound, experience has shown they need to shoot to kill. It is just too difficult to hit an arm or a leg in the limited reaction time they have.

In the question and answer session that followed, Chief Chavez was asked about the usefulness of citizen advisory boards. He said they are helpful in developing police policy, but should not try to second guess the actions of an officer. He was also asked what someone should do if they are in a crowd and someone starts shooting. His response was to “RUN”. Studies have shown that if you are at least 15 feet from the shooter, you are relatively safe. Jaime Chavez and pistol packing mama-to be-Tara AlexanderThen the further away you are, the less chance you have to be hit.

After the Program

David Thomas, the son of Gerald Thomas, won the drawing. (That’s the second time in two weeks a guest has won!) Congratulations David!! Paulina reported that the can collected $333.00 for Jim’s Guatemala project. The meeting ended with our reciting the 4 Way Test. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians

Guest    Host
David Thomas Gerald Thomas

Visiting Rotarians

Rotarian Home Club

Student Guests

Student School
Chris Ericson Las Cruces
Leland Sharp Mayfield


Rotarian Date Club
Kim Hakes 3/1 Rio Grande

Submitted by Ron SalakRon Salak