ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Saturday, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office showed off some new vehicles which came at a good time during the pandemic according to Sheriff Manny Gonzales.
Gonzales said for decades his department hasn’t been able to provide services in certain areas because of the terrain but said the new vehicles will help monitor open spaces and trails which are popular places these days. However, as the number of visitors continues to grow, officials said so is the amount of illegal dumping.
“People are cleaning their yards and they’re cleaning out their garages,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada. “And what they’re doing is instead of taking it to the dump, they’re taking it up to the southwest Mesa and they’re dumping it.”
Illegal dumping isn’t the only problem, there are other crimes happening in open spaces year-round. “You got stolen vehicles, you got crimes going on there and sometimes we can’t access those areas because of the vehicles we’re provided,” said Gonzales.
Commissioner Quezada helped secure $150,000 from the state, to outfit the sheriff’s office with two new SUVs, two mountain bikes, and three motorcycles which are better equipped to handle the terrain in these open spaces and will allow deputies to better monitor these areas and hold people accountable.
“Right now, we’re in this pandemic mode with the COVID-19 and so this equipment can’t be more timely in terms of how many people are out here in these open spaces,” said Gonzales. He said the investment in these new vehicles is an investment in a safer community.
“The bottom line is the public needs them, it’s for them. It’s for the deputies to have access to provide a service and they’re the ones that need to go out there and when it’s an issue for a person’s public safety you need to be able to get there. That’s 90% of anything,” said Gonzales.
The sheriff said they hope to secure more funding for Jeeps, but there are no plans for that yet. Illegal dumping can lead to fines and potential jail time.
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