The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) is considered one of the most influential and largest business organizations in the city. The membership consists of the “who’s who” of the city’s commercial real estate developers, construction contractors, realtors and architects. NAIOP is known to openly oppose city regulations, zoning restrictions, increases in taxes no matter how justified, oppose hourly wage increases, promote “right to work laws”, oppose mandatory sick leave policies for businesses, oppose unions, and oppose the city demanding union wages on city construction projects.
On Tuesday, August 8, Sheriff and Candidate for Mayor Manny Gonzales appeared before the local chapter of the National Association of Industrial Office Parks (NAIOP), the commercial real estate development organization. Gonzales gave a brief speech and fielded questions from the audience. Many in the audience used the opportunity heap praise on Gonzales. What was downplayed in the news coverage of the event was that Sheriff Manny Gonzales told the crowd that as Mayor he plans to consolidate the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
The link to news material is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Ostensibly, Manny Gonzales has read the blog article dated July 22, 2020 entitled “Defund APD And BCSO; Create ABBCO Police Authority With Civilian Governing Board And ABBCO Police Authority Commissioner” and the letter to the Albuquerque Journal dated September 28, 2020 entitled Defund APD, BCSO for one Police Authority. Both columns go into great detail why such a consolidation is needed, how it would be accomplished, the hurdles that must be overcome and the logistics of what is required. The links to both columns are below.
It’s obvious Manny Gonzales thinks he owns the Office of Bernalillo County Sheriff and as Mayor he will own the APD and be able to consolidate both agencies on his own. The blunt truth is that Gonzales is shooting his mouth off announcing plans he has absolutely no authority to do as Mayor in order to pander to a Republican leaning organization of movers and shakers who may donate to his campaign.
CONTRADICTS HIS ENTIRE CAREER
Sheriff Manny Gonzales began his law enforcement career on August 14th, 1989 with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Over the span of 30 plus years with the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office, Gonzales was known to oppose consolidation of Bernalillo County and City Government. During the last 7 years as Bernalillo County Sherriff, Gonzales never appeared before the Bernalillo County Commission to ask for or promote the consolidation of both departments. One thing for certain is that Gonzales was never interested working with APD, especially after he decided to run for mayor 2 years ago and began sweeps in the Albuquerque SE Heights to upstage Mayor Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina.
GONZALES OPPOSTION TO DOJ REFORMS
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 7 years the City and APD have been struggling to implement 176 reforms and have spent millions on the reforms.
On March 21, 2021, Sheriff Gonzales gave his opinion of the Department of Justice consent agreement with the Albuquerque Police Department and other issues and had this to say:
“APD officers are working in an environment to fail. … they are subjected to being assaulted, battered, spit on and second-guessed. … [Bail reform] has failed miserably. It did reduce the jail population but at the expense of public safety. … [The matrix] used by the court’s to determine which defendants are eligible for release [is] fuel to the fire. It should be banished as a reliable matrix … It emboldens criminals. … Sanctuary city attracts criminals to Albuquerque.”
A link to source material is here:
Gonzales has nothing good to say at all about the need for the reforms. His opinion expressed showed a level of ignorance of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement and what brought the department of justice to Albuquerque in the first place.
It is known to many in law enforcement that Gonzales has significant reservation and disagreements with the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). Confidential sources say Gonzales intends to campaign for 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 implemented and strict “Constitutional policing” practices and methods, and mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill that must now be used.
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. APD’s 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.
5. APD’s revised and updated policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
6. The new Civilian Police Oversight Agency created, funded, and fully staffed.
7. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) created in all area commands and recommendations made by the CPCs to the Chief on discipline.
8. The Mental Health Advisory Committee for APD.
Unless a candidate for Mayor Manny Gonzales can agree with all the mandatory requirements of the Department of Justice (DOJ), it is likely his election as Mayor will be a major setback to the reforms. As Mayor, he will give APD the leeway to return to unconstitutional policing practices as he did with the Sheriff’s Office, such as when he allowed shooting at suspects in fleeing cars.
THE RACE TO REPLACE
At this point in time there are at least 4 candidates running to replace Gonzales as sheriff. Those individuals are:
1. Democrat Phil Snedecker, a retired NM State Police Officer and former Sheriff of Quay County who now is employed by probation and parole
2. Former Democrat State Representative Patricio Ruiloba
3. Democrat John Allen, a retired BCSO Sergeant
4. Republican Paul Pacheco, former New Mexico Republican State Representative and retired APD Officer and APD Police Union President
Now that Gonzales is termed out and unable to run for another term as sheriff and running for Mayor, it is not at all likely that he cares about others who now want to replace him as Bernalillo County Sheriff. Gonzales acts like the BCSO is his own personal property to do with it as he pleases, and will think the same about APD if he becomes Mayor. One thing for certain, the Office of Bernalillo County Sheriff is a constitutionally created elected office and it is highly likely not one of the 4 running to replace Gonzales will want to the office to be consolidated with APD.
GONZALES WOULD BE DISASTER AS MAYOR
When it comes to the Sheriff’s Department under Manny Gonzales, it is clear that the department is way behind the times when it comes to constitutional policing practices. Sheriff Gonzales for years has resisted civilian oversight of BCSO often ignoring the citizen advisory board recommendations. Most recently, Sheriff Gonzales resisted the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s efforts to have BCSO comply with U.S. Supreme Court mandated disclosures of police misconduct of officers who testify in court.
One of the biggest problems is that Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has shown himself to be a law enforcement “throw back” to by gone days proceeding the Black Lives Matter movement, especially with his refusal to order the use of lapel cameras before the State legislature mandated it and his resistance to make mandatory disclosures of officer misconduct to the District Attorney’s office as mandated by the United States Supreme Court.
In a 2-year period Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out $8,595,000 in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, all under Sheriff Gonzales’ watch, for deadly force and civil rights violations. It appears to be a question of not if but when the BCSO will get hit with another use of deadly force case unless the department does a major review of its practices and training and as Sheriff Gonzales moves on and his term expires in 2022.
Frankly, there are too many reasons a Mayor Manny Gonzales would be a disaster as Mayor. You do not replace one disaster with an even bigger law enforcement disaster such as Gonzales or a Der Führer Trump Republican such as Eddy Aragon. Voters will likely be more comfortable keeping the disaster and failure we already have as a Mayor.