Mike Miyagishima has been a certified police officer on a strictly volunteer basis since 1983. He assists with several law enforcement agencies, including the Las Cruces Police Department where he investigates and responds to numerous domestic calls in residential settings. He also assists with the investigation of shoplifting crimes at shopping malls and stores, travelling to the scene of robberies and burglaries, and guarding prisoners at medical facilities.
Mr. Miyagishima helps the New Mexico police during roadblocks, approximately one or two per month, inspecting up to 250 cars each time. For every vehicle stopped, he asks the driver for their driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of automobile insurance. He also videotapes many crime scenes for police records and volunteers for the New Mexico Special Olympics Torch Run.
His involvement with law enforcement has influenced his “Little Brother” to decide to pursue a career in law enforcement. Miyagishima’s Little Brother has been trained and is involved as an undercover person in a cigarette sting operation to see if vendors are involved in selling cigarettes illegally to minors.
Miyagishima is also active with the New Mexico Park Rangers. In service to their “boat patrol” operation at Elephant Butte Dam, Miyagishima searches for probable water and land violations, in-water or inland incidents, and assists in patrolling the area for safe boating. He also patrols the park to ensure that there are no substance abuse activities and underage alcohol usage occurring, and checks for legal fishing and deer hunting licenses.
In 1999, through the 444 hours and 6,284 miles of service performed by Miyagishima for law enforcement agencies, officers of the law have been able to protect and save many lives. The number of traffic vehicle accidents and fatalities has decreased and more vehicle owners now have insurance. There has also been a reduction in the number of stolen vehicles and domestic incidents. Proper assistance is now given to families of domestic violence. Crimes such as burglaries, shoplifting, and breaking and entering are on the decline as well, and cigarette and alcohol to minors have been curtailed. In addition, $5,700 has been raised for the New Mexico Special Olympics Torch Run, which has generated more than $20,000 over the last four years in donations.
Mike Miyagishima’s voluntary law enforcement service is a product of his participation in the New Mexico Mounted Patrol (NMMP), the only police reserve organization established by state statute known to be autonomous and independent of any regular policing agency. The function of the NMMP and its highly skilled volunteers is to “assist in the enforcement of law by cooperating with all law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies of the state of New Mexico when requested by them and under their direction and control.” NMMP recruits pay for their own equipment, including side arms and training ammunition, which can cost several thousand dollars.