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Nearly every home and business in town was vacant during the eight-day evacuation sparked by the Las Conchas Fire – yet every returning resident found their property intact.
Los Alamos police kept a constant eye on the community during the evacuation, Chief Wayne Torpy said. The officers worked around the clock patrolling neighborhoods, street by street, questioning anyone they encountered. He was stopped a couple of times when driving his personal vehicle.
During an interview on the Safety and Security Matters program broadcast July 20 on KRSN, Torpy spoke about his department’s crime control efforts during the fire.
“Any people who drove around were stopped frequently,” Torpy said. “We kept a list of the people and their telephone numbers who didn’t evacuate. That enabled us to check on them and also would allow us to notify them in the event that the fire entered the townsite and threatened their home.”
All officers and other essential persons worked 12-hour shifts, slept on cots in the police station and never went home, Torpy said.
Detectives reviewed several years’ worth of cases in which people were arrested for property crimes. The detectives obtained their addresses and paid visits to those who remained in town.
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