Sheriff Manny Gonzales was born and raised in the South Valley and attended Albuquerque public schools. He is married and he and his wife Elaine are both life-long residents of Albuquerque. The couple are raising their three teenage children, two sons and one daughter, in the same community where they were raised in the South Valley. Gonzales is a United States veteran, having served honorably in the United States Marine Corps.
EDUCATION AND BACKGROUND
Sheriff Gonzales has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Central New Mexico Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management with two Minors (Occupational Education/ Specialization in Law Enforcement). His Law Enforcement Executive Development consists of FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development – Command Institute for Law Enforcement Executives, Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Western States Sheriff’s Association – Leadership, The Southern Police Institute- Chief Executive Leadership Course, The National Sheriff’s Institute – Executive Level Management Education and Training, and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Executive
LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER
Sheriff Gonzales began his law enforcement career on August 14th, 1989 with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Over the span of 24 years, Sheriff Gonzales served in all divisions, commands, and shifts within the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. He worked his way through the ranks of the department and was promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain.
On November 30th, 2009 Sheriff Gonzales was unanimously appointed Sheriff by the Bernalillo County Commission, when the sitting Sheriff resigned. He has been Sheriff for six years. Sheriff Gonzales was elected Sheriff on November 6, 2018 with 54.7% of the vote and garnering 126,606 votes county wide. His current term expires January 1, 2023.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales is very personable and well liked as evidence by the landslide vote he received in 2018. No one has any right to try and humiliate him by demanding his resignation in order to circumvent his continued service in a job he was elected, but that is what has happened to him.
HIGHER AMBITIONS BY SHERIFF MANNY GONZALES
On September 6, 2019, BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales upset the Mayor Tim Keller Administration when he made it known he was planning on running for Mayor against Keller in 2021. The question arose after Gonzales hired a former spokesman for Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign for governor. The spokesperson became embroiled with a controversy of his own accusing the Governor of sexual harassment and threatening a lawsuit.
Gonzales hedged when asked about running for Mayor and said he had not made a “formal decision” about running for mayor against Keller, but he did tell the Albuquerque Journal he had not ruled out campaigning for higher office and said:
“When I first took office, they asked me the question what are my political aspirations and this is what I voiced and I’m still the same. … I said my intentions are to run for sheriff and hopefully get reelected and I’ve done that. After my performance there I said I would look at other options and if people supported me because I did a good job then I would consider higher office. And I still stand by that. … My campaign right now and my focus is keeping people safe. … My campaign is to follow through with what I promised the people I would do.”
DEMANDS FOR RESIGNATION
On Tuesday, July 21, Sheriff Gonzales announced he would be meeting with President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday, July 22. Gonzales failed to give any more information about his Washington trip, simply saying he would brief the public upon his return. Sheriff Gonzales immediately came under severe criticism from Democratic city and state elected officials for meeting with Trump.
It turned out what Gonzales attended was a White House press conference where he did not say a single word. The purpose of the Trump press conference was for Trump to announce he was sending 35 law enforcement agents to Albuquerque from various federal agencies to help deal with violent crime offenders.
SENATOR MARTIN HEINRICH DEMAND
Before the press conference, in an interview exhibiting hostility, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich called for the resignation of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales. Heinrich claimed Gonzales was inviting federal law enforcement agents to Albuquerque calling the law enforcement being sent the president’s “storm troopers”
In a statement, Heinrich said:
“I believe that it is time for Sheriff Gonzales to step aside and make room for someone who will make maintaining the peace and promoting the safety and protection of Bernalillo County residents our law enforcement’s top priority. … Instead of collaborating with the Albuquerque Police Department, the Sheriff is inviting the President’s storm-troopers into Albuquerque. … If we can learn anything from Portland [Oregon], it’s that we don’t need this kind of ‘help’ from the White House. The President is currently using federal law enforcement agents like a domestic paramilitary force. That’s precisely how fascism begins and none of us should ever encourage it or accept.”
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director Peter Simonson also chimed in with Senator Heinrich and demanded Sheriff Gonzales to resign. The ACLU gave sparse rational for the resignation demand. No doubt the resignation demand has most to do with the Sheriff’s opposition to lapel cameras and recent law suites the ACLU has filed against the Sheriff’s Department for racial profiling of African Americans.
Further, a settlement was announced in March for $4 million dollars involving the killing of a 28 year old mentally ill girl by two of BCSO Deputies who shot her 21 times. The lawsuit alleged the use of deadly force and also went on to allege Sheriff Gonzales has fostered a “culture of aggression” within his department. The “culture of aggression” is one that the ACLU is particularly concerned about because of its involvement as a stakeholder in the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating sweeping reforms of APD.
MAYOR TIM KELLER
In a statement, Mayor Tim Keller said President Trump was ready to incite violence in Democratic cities and is forming a reelection strategy “built on gas lighting immigrants and people of color ”. Keller said:
“We always welcome partnerships in constitutional crime fighting that are in step with our community, but we won’t sell out our city for a bait and switch excuse to send secret police to Albuquerque. Operation Legend is not real crime fighting. It’s politics standing in the way of police work and makes us less safe. … There’s no place for Trump’s secret police in our city. … If this was more than a stunt, these politicians would support constitutional crime-fighting efforts that work for our community, not turning Albuquerque into a federal police state.”
APD CHIEF MICHAEL GEIER
APD Chief Michael Geier had this to say:
“We coordinate with our federal law enforcement partners every day. … What is being described is not real crime-fighting; it’s politics standing in the way of police work.”
CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT PAT DAVIS
On July 21, Democrat Albuquerque City Council President Pat Davis also unloaded on Sheriff Manny Gonzales over his plans to met President Trump and had this to say:
“Now we see that the President is planning to looking at Albuquerque to send federal officers for help, we are not asking for and don’t need and now the sheriff is going to the White House to tell him all about how the president can help us in Albuquerque, and quite frankly we don’t need either of their help for this”.
On July 21, Davis had this to say on TWITTER:
“On the same days news reports announce the Trump’s ICE is looking to send Portland-style feds to ABQ, our Sherriff makes plans to visit Trump in-person to “update” him on ABQ NEEDS. If these feds show up here, know who to blame.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Thirty-five (35) law enforcement agents from various federal agencies assigned to target violent felons in Albuquerque do not constitute “Storm Troopers”, “secret police” and it is not “turning Albuquerque into a federal police state” nor is it “gaslighting immigrants and people of color”. It sure hell is not “politics standing in the way of police work”. These are all inflammatory quotes from Heinrich, Keller and Geier used before federal agents have even arrived to the city. According to New Mexico’s FBI Agent in Charge and the United States Attorney for New Mexico, the agents will be in plain clothes and will not be performing protective service of Federal Government Buildings like that in Portland, Oregon.
The offer of sending federal law enforcement agents to Albuquerque is the identical offer made back in December and Keller and Geier had no problem back then but got offended when Attorney General Barr did not invite them to his press conference with the federal agencies and the New Mexico US Attorney. In December, the program was called “Operation Relentless Pursuit” and Trump and Attorney General Barr renamed it at the press conference as “Operation Legend.”
A link to a December, 2019 blog article on Operation Relentless Pursuit is here:
A link to a blog article on Operation Legend is here:
Mayor Keller’s remarks can be dismissed with the Spanish term “envidia” by the Mayor and Chief and by not giving Sheriff Gonzales any credit for being able to secure help from the federal government to deal with the City’s high violent crime rates. High violent crime rates have plagued Keller for 3 years ever since he promised to bring down the city’s crime rates once elected Mayor which he failed to do. Mayor Keller’s and APD Chief Michael Geier’s condemnation of Gonzales is hypocrisy as both touted federal law enforcement assistance back in November of 2019 when they announced a 4th plan they called the “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP) to deal with the cities violent crime rates. The VIP program was announced after the murder of Jacquelyn Vigil. Keller and Geier both said in a news conference that partners on the VIP program included the federal Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureaus of Investigation (FBI), the United States Marshal for New Mexico and Homeland Security, the very same federal agencies that are now sending law enforcement agents to the city.
A link to the news coverage is here:
WHITE PRIVILEGE EXPOSED
One glaring problem that was revealed by the trip Sheriff Gonzales made to the White House is that the “white privilege” progressive leadership of Heinrich, Keller and Davis within the Democratic party have a complete intolerance of anyone they perceive as not agreeing with them or who may oppose them for elective office. The problem of intolerance was on full display when Senator Martin Heinrich, Mayor Tim Keller, Albuquerque City Council President Pat Davis, APD Chief Michael Geier and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director Peter Simonson all went after and all piled on Sheriff Gonzales with a vengeance.
Senator Martin Heinrich’s and American Civil Liberties Union Director Peter Simonson demanding the Sherriff’s resignation was just plain wrong. It is one thing to be disappointed in Sheriff Gonzales because of his support of conservative causes and even to condemn his trip to the White House to participate in a Trump photo op, but demanding the Sheriff’s resignation was ignoring his lifetime of service to the community and the country.
Senator Martin Heinrich, Mayor Tim Keller, City Council President Pat Davis and Chief Michael Geier need to be far more sensitive and get educated to what is really happening in Albuquerque when it comes to race relations, stop looking at the city through the lenses of “white privilege Democrats”. The likes of Heinrich and Davis especially need to stop acting like they are here to save us from ourselves. Both Heinrich and Davis ask for the deed to the house when people tell them “Mi Casa Es Su Casa” not knowing what is meant. We do not need saving from ourselves, especially from those who really do not understand nor who can identify with our minority communities and our city’s rich Hispanic history. The city is not in need of “saving” by those who have never experienced racial discrimination in their lifetimes.
The records of Heinrich, Keller, Geier and Pat Davis of fighting crime in the city is dubious at best and a failure. Mayor Keller’s efforts are especially a failure after all the promises he has broken on reducing the cities high crime rates and the millions he has spent on law enforcement and the expansion of APD. Pat Davis is even more of a failure seeing as the entire 5 years he has been on the City Council he has done nothing to reduce our crime rates. The state and city needs real leadership and not politicians they have revealed themselves to be as they engaged in the same type of hyperbole as Trump, but with a progressive flare and tone of self-righteousness.
WHITE PRIVILEGE COALITION ON CITY COUNCIL
City Councillor President Pat Davis is a former Washington, DC police officer who shot an African American twice, without provocation, and who as a UNM Campus Police Officer engaged in pattern of excessive force against New Mexico residents. Former UNM Campus Police Lt. Pat Davis, along with two of his fellow UNM Campus Police officers, violated people’s civil rights with unconstitutional searches of their private homes with no warrant after they coerced two woman to allow the searches and they found nothing. The New Mexico cases were settled costing New Mexico taxpayers thousands.
Former conservative Republican Pat Davis is the very same “self proclaimed progressive” who is now holding himself out as a “reformed former cop” who can change APD. The progressives wing of the Democratic party have always fondled over Pat Davis ever since he was the Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. Progressives Democrats continue to fondle over Davis and say “forgive and forget, he is one of use now” and they believe all of his garbage. It was on July 17, the Albuquerque Journal published a guest column by Progressive Democrats State Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Debbie Sarinana going to the defense of City Council President Pat Davis after ProgressNow demanded that Davis resign from the Albuquerque City Council after his extensive history of conduct and unconstitutional policing practices were revealed. You can read the entire letter to the editor at this link:
The truth is Pat Davis is now the leader of what is being referred to as the “White Privilege Coalition” on the City Council consisting of Democrats Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Diane Gibson and Republicans Don Harris and Trudy Jones. Pat Davis has bragged about in the past of being able to work with Republicans on the city council and has even co sponsored many ordinances with Republican Don Harris. These are the very same city councilors who voted repeatedly for the ART Bus project and kept all their mouths shut and refused to hold APD accountable when the Federal Monitor issued scathing audit reports on the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).
Prior to his death, long time City Councillor Ken Sanchez, as a native of Albuquerque, was a strong advocate for all parts of the city and would often work closely with City Councilors Klarisa Pena and Cynthia Borrego to get things done. It was common knowledge Sanchez was always thinking about running for Mayor. Democrat Ken Sanchez was considered a moderate Democrat and would often disagree with Mayor Tim Keller. Sanchez was often criticized by the progressive wing of the party as being a “corporate democrat”.
When long time City Councillor Sanchez passed away, Progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller took advantage of it and appointed a progressive activist to the City Council who he could rely upon for any and all support. Now that Pat Davis is City Council President, confidential sources are saying that he repeatedly marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the city council and opposes any of their initiatives. When Pat Davis marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the City Council, he relies on his “White Privilege” coalition on the city council as does Progressive Mayor Tim Keller.
SELF CREATED HURDLES TO SHERIFF GONZALES BECOMING MAYOR GONZALES
Notwithstanding the progressive wing of the Democratic Party piling on Sheriff Manny Gonzales, there are a number of very serious obstacles he himself has created to any ambitions to becoming the next Mayor of Albuquerque. Following are a few of those obstacles:
SHERIFF GONZALES OPPOSITION TO LAPEL CAMERAS
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed a bill enacted during the 2020 special session mandating the use of by all law enforcement agencies in the state. Sheriff Gonzales has consistently opposed the use of lapel cameras by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office while lapel camera usage is required of APD. Many Democrats and Republicans strongly disagree with Sheriff Gonzales’ resistance to ordering the use of lapel cameras. Last fall the Bernalillo County Commission allocated $1 million in startup money, plus $500,000 in recurring annual funds for the sheriff’s office to get dashboard cameras and lapel cameras, but Sheriff Gonzales refused and no equipment was ever purchased.
On July 15, Sheriff Gonzales, essentially ignoring the lapel camera mandate by the legislature, announced he is looking to partner with a private company so his deputies can put “smartphones” in their vests and record video instead of using body cameras. The suggestion to use “smart phones” was met with ridicule. Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, the sponsor of the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all New Mexico law enforcement, burst out laughing when told of the sheriff’s plan to use smart phones. Senator Cervantes had this to say:
“I’m pleased to see the sheriff is finally willing to adopt one of the tools of modern law enforcement. … We passed a law that requires body-worn cameras, so if he wants to do it by duct-taping iPhones on his officers’ chests, that’s his prerogative, although I think it creates the possibility of becoming a laughingstock.”
A $4 MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT BY BCSO AND STILL NO LAPEL CAMERAS
On March 6, 2020, it was reported that the family of a mentally ill Elisha Lucero, 28, who was shot and killed by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies in front of her home during a misdemeanor battery call last summer, settled their lawsuit with the county for $4 million. The two Sheriff Deputies who shot and killed Elisha Lucero were not wearing lapel cameras. The two are the same deputies who were sued, along with the Sheriff, by the ACLU for racial profiling during traffic stops of African American women. (See below: RACIAL PROFILING ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BCSO.)
In July, 2019, mentally ill Elisha Lucero, 28, was shot to death in front of her RV, which was parked in front of her family’s South Valley home. Deputies had responded to the home after a relative called 911 saying Lucero had hit her uncle in the face. According to the 911 call, a relative said Lucero was mentally ill, needed help, and was a threat to herself and to everybody else. Just one month prior, Lucero had called BCSO and asked to be taken to the hospital for mental health issues. According to the lawsuit, when deputies arrived, they said Lucero initially refused to come out of the home. The 4-foot-11 Lucero, naked from the waist up, ran out screaming and armed with a kitchen knife and the deputies pulled their revolvers and shot her. According to an autopsy report, she was shot at least 21 times by the deputies.
The Lucero family civil suit states:
“the deputies created a situation where they were forced to use deadly force against Ms. Lucero or have justified their unlawful use of deadly force with the falsehood that Ms. Lucero presented a deadly threat to one or all of them.”
The Lucero lawsuit filed on January 13 alleges Sheriff Gonzales has fostered a “culture of aggression” in the department and too few deputies are trained to handle people with mental health issues. The allegation of a “culture of aggression” and the use of deadly force when dealing with the mentally ill is identical to what the Department of Justice investigation found within the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) 6 years ago resulting in the DOJ federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement. Albuquerque has paid out $5 million to $6 million for it’s most high-profile officer-involved shootings, including the shooting of mentally ill homeless camper James Boyd and mentally ill Christopher Torres prior to beginning its reform effort with the Department of Justice.
Even after the shooting of Elisha Lucero and the $4 Million settlement, Sheriff Gonzales did not change his opposition to lapel cameras. Gonzales has proclaimed his deputies do not need lapel cameras because they have audio recorders on their belts.
BCSO RACIAL PROFILING CASES SETTLED
In this day and age of the Black Lives Matter movement, civil lawsuits are the norm and not the exception against any law enforcement agency and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office is no different. There is no doubt if Sheriff Gonzales runs for Mayor, his management of BCSO will be examined as will any and all lawsuits filed against the department under his watch for systemic racial profiling.
On July 8, 2020, it was reported that two Black women from Wisconsin are suing Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and two deputies alleging racial and religious profiling stemming from a traffic stop in July 2017. The lawsuit was filed about five months after Bernalillo County reached a $100,000 settlement with Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American who filed a lawsuit against BCSO after she was pulled over three times in 28 days by deputies Patrick Rael and Leonard Armijo, the same deputies named in the new lawsuit, in spring 2017.
The was filed by Sisters Consweyla and Cynthia Minafee, and a 5-year-old child, Yahaven Pylant, were traveling from Phoenix back to Wisconsin when they were pulled over by Rael on Interstate 40 the morning of July 7, 2017. Cynthia Minafee was Yahaven’s legal guardian at the time. According to the lawsuit, the traffic stop lasted almost an hour and included an extensive search of the vehicle with a drug dog. According to the lawsuit, Rael told the women to get out of the car and said he could smell marijuana on Cynthia. Cynthia said that she had not smoked in the car and that there was no marijuana in the vehicle. Consweyla Minafee, the driver, was not issued a traffic citation, but Cynthia Minafee was issued a citation for not having Yahaven properly restrained. The citation was dismissed in May, online court records show.
A link to the full Albuquerque Journal article is here:
It was on December 6, 2017 that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American woman on temporary assignment in New Mexico as an Immigration and Customs Agent (ICE) deportation officer. The lawsuit alleged that Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies racially profiled her by pulling her over three times, twice by the same deputy, within a month with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that she was breaking the law. None of the three times she was pulled over was she given a warning or a citation.
ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Kristin Greer Love had this to say at the time:
“Our client is an accomplished federal agent who was targeted for driving while black … BCSO unlawfully and repeatedly stopped her because she fit a racial profile. Targeting people because of the color of their skin is unconstitutional and bad policing. Racial discrimination has no place in New Mexico, and BCSO must take immediate action to ensure that this behavior does not continue.”
SHERIFF GONZALES AND THE DOJ REFORMS
On April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, submitted a scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18-month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). A link to the entire report is here:
Based on the investigation and the review of excessive use of force and deadly force cases, the DOJ found that a “culture of aggression” existed within APD. The DOJ found “reasonable cause to believe that APD engage[d] in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment … . A significant number of the use of force cases reviewed by the DOJ involved persons suffering from acute mental illness and who were in crisis.”
The investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respected their rights and in a manner that was safe for all involved.
On November 10, 2014 the City and APD entered into a federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating sweeping changes to APD policy and training on the use of force and deadly force. For the last 6 years the City and APD have been struggling to implement 176 reforms and have spent millions on the reforms.
Sheriff Gonzales has not expressed them vocally nor publicly, but it is known to many in law enforcement that he has significant reservation and disagreements with the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). Confidential sources say Gonzales intends to campaign for more Mayor on a platform to dismiss the federal court case and abolish all the reforms imposed upon APD and he wants the case to be dismissed.
Just a few of the DOJ reforms Sheriff Manny Gonzales is likely to find very problematic and object to as Mayor Gonzales are:
1.The new “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies that have been written, implemented and all APD sworn have received training on.
2. The extent of the mandatory crisis management intervention training required of APD.
3. APD’s “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force by APD Officers.
4. The Internal Affairs Unit being divided into two sections, one dealing with general complaints and the other dealing with use of force incidents.
5. Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning choke-holds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers.
6. The implemented and strict “Constitutional policing” practices and methods, and mandatory crisis intervention techniques an de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill that must now be used.
7. APD has adopted a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated.
8. APD has revised and updated its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
9. A new Civilian Police Oversight Agency has been created, funded, fully staffed and a director hired.
10. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) have been created in all area commands and the CPCs meet monthly and make recommendations to the Chief on discipline.
13. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.
Unless a candidate for Mayor Manny Gonzales can agree with all the mandatory requirements of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and agree with 100% implementation of the reforms by APD, it is likely his election as Mayor will be a major setback to the reforms and APD will be given the leeway to return to unconstitutional policing practices.
REACHING ACROSS PARTY LINES
Democrat Bernalillo County Sheriff Gonzales did himself no favors by going to the White House to participate in a photo op with Trump. True or not, it was interpreted as an endorsement of President Trump’s policies. Sheriff Gonzales should have known better and not gone at all or have sent the Under Sheriff in his stead.
It is understandable that Sheriff Manny Gonzales has the desire to reach across party lines. But doing so in law enforcement and being the only one going and excluding the Bernalillo County District Attorney, the Mayor, the President of the City Council and the Presiding District Court Judge, all who are Democrats dealing with high crime rates, was a big mistake on many levels.
The current make up of the 9 member Albuquerque City Council is 6 Democrats and 3 Republicans with a “White Privilege” coalition in control which is not likely to change. The current makeup of the 5 member Bernalillo County Commission, who funds the Sheriff’s Office, is 4 Democrats and the one Republican who is the Chairman of the County Commission. Trying to reach across party lines when both the City Council and County Commission have super majorities of Democrats is a waste of time, especially when the City Council is controlled by a “White Privilege” coalition who no doubt would oppose a Mayor Gonzales.
New Mexico progressive, moderate and conservative Democrats all have hostility for President Trump that can be described as complete contempt. Gonzales is now faced with the prospect that he just may have ended his aspirations to being Albuquerque’s next Mayor, but it’s likely he does not feel that way. It’s likely he thinks those who disagreed with him going to Washington would not have voted for him in the first place but the problem is those people will be Democrats. Republicans are just as likely not to vote for him either if a Republican is on the ballot for Mayor.
At a minimum, any and all future opponents Sheriff Gonzales has, including Tim Keller, will likely portray him as a Trump supporter and a “Democrat In Name Only” (DINO). That is fair game in politics given his trip to the White House. For that reason alone, he should consider just changing his party affiliation to Republican before he runs for Mayor, especially if he wants to support a conservative Republican agenda or any Republican conservative causes in the future as Mayor.
A RECOMMENDATION FOR CONSIDERATION
After the negative outburst against Sheriff Gonzales by Heinrich, Keller, Davis and Geier, Sheriff Gonzales confirmed he was not deterred and is still interested in running for Mayor in 2021 which his right and he should not be intimated by anyone not to run. However, one would hope he would seriously consider the city needs him elsewhere and not in the Mayor’s office and recognize the obstacles he has created himself.
Sheriff’s Gonzales’ background and credentials are exclusively law enforcement that makes him ill-equipped to deal with serious problems as Mayor other than law enforcement and high crime rates. The state has already had a former career prosecutor and “law and order” Republican Governor as well as a “law and order” Republican Mayor concurrently for 8 years. The Republican Governor and Republican Mayor were both a disaster and both had a very warped vision of Albuquerque and the state and they simply did not know what they were doing. It will be the same with Sheriff Gonzales.
No doubt there will be those that say a Mayor hires professional staff to do all the work, but the reality of City Hall is a Mayor usually surrounds themselves with loyalists that have helped them get elected and not necessarily qualified for the jobs. In the Sheriff’s case, it will likely be people he has known over many years in law enforcement. Then there is the problem posed with a former Sheriff second guessing a new APD Chief’s management decisions and law enforcement priorities.
Gonzales is encouraged to rethink if he really wants to be Mayor given the fact that the city is faced with so many other problems and not just high crime rates. An exclusive law enforcement background such as his and bringing down high crime rates will only go so far in solving the city’s other serious problems. Those problems include poverty, the homeless, economic development, high jobless rates, a poor education system, gentrification, city deficits and the pandemic and managing a workforce of over 5,000 with 16 departments with a $1 billion budget.
WHERE SHERIFF GONZALES LEADERSHIP IS REALLY NEEDED
Throughout the country, the Black Lives Matter movement has changed dramatically how police are viewed and how law enforcement is funded and operated. The one cause that Sheriff Manny Gonzales’s expertise is desperately needed and where it could best be used and relied upon would be to advocate for defunding of both the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and create a regional law enforcement authority working with the New Mexico Legislature, the Bernalillo County Commission and the Albuquerque City Council.
CREATE ABBCO POLICE AUTHORITY
The approach taken by the New Mexico legislature creating the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority should be taken with defunding both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Assets, personnel, units, office space, area commands, emergency operations dispatching and academy training can be combined and accomplished by ordinances adopted by both the City Council and the County Commission or through a negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The New Mexico Legislature can enact enabling legislation that would include a constitutional amendment abolishing the Office of Sheriff for class “A” counties (counties with populations exceeding 500,000) and mandating the creation of Metropolitan-County Law enforcement authority.
A permanent dedicated funding source consisting of a combination of gross receipts tax and property tax taken from Municipal and County existing taxing authority would be transferred and authorized by the legislature to the authority. Municipal and County Law Enforcement Budgets would be combined and reduced where there is duplication of services. Surplus and duplicate funding from both APD and BCSO budgets would be identified and those funds invested or reallocated into social programs to address the real causes of crime.
Personnel policies, rules, regulations, standard operating procedure and internal affairs function can be developed for the authority. Most importantly, uniform police standard operating procedures and constitutional policing training and practices would be implemented, such as mandatory use of lapel cameras and de-escalations tactics along with many of the reforms mandated by the Court Approved Settlement Agreement included as policy for the authority.
A civilian governing board of 5 members for the police authority would be created. The members would be the Mayor, the City Council President, the Bernalillo County Commission Chairperson, the Bernalillo County Sheriff and the Chief or Presiding Judge of the Second Judicial District, all who would serve no more than two 4-year terms. A Police Authority Commissioner would be appointed by the civilian governing board. ABBCO Commissioner would be a contracted position that could only be terminated for cause as defined in the contract with compensation established by the governing board. The Police Authority Commissioner would have the identical or combined authority as the APD Chief and Bernalillo County Sheriff to run and operate the authority.
Both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office have way to much overlap with taxpayers in the city paying for essentially two law enforcement agencies. The City and the County have essentially combined geographically. Consolidation of both law enforcement authorities is long overdue. Both law enforcement agencies can and should be combined and streamlined into one Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Regional Law Enforcement authority or an ABBCO Police Authority.
For more on the creation of ABBCO police authority see link to July 22 blog article and the end.
If Sheriff Manny Gonzales is truly interested in long term government service that will have a long-lasting effect and leave a legacy of reform in his chosen profession of law enforcement, he would abandon his efforts and the waste of time running for Mayor. He should consider spear heading the creation of a regional law enforcement authority. Now that would require working across all philosophical and party lines.
No matter what Sheriff Gonzales finally decides, the people of Albuquerque do indeed owe him a debt of gratitude for the service he has thus far given to the community in law enforcement. Best wishes to him.
For a related blog article see: