ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (FOX) – United States Attorney General William Barr recently appointed Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III to chair the Mental Illness Working Group which is a subcommittee of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. Sheriff Gonzales visits the set to discuss his recent appointment.
The Commission was created to explore modern issues that affect law enforcement and is made up of 15 working groups that will specialize in a variety of topics like social problems impacting public safety, officer health and wellness, technology issues and more. Sheriff Gonzales explains that on Friday, the working group chairs will be receiving a teleconference call from Washington detailing their roles.
The Commission is directed to research current issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system and recommends several subjects to study including law enforcement challenges associated with mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness, the recruitment of law enforcement, the effects of technological innovations on law enforcement and more.
“I think part of the committee’s position is to moderate those issues and to figure out what are the best practices, what’s cutting edge for law enforcement, and what can we do in the future to aid law enforcement to better deal with people with mental health issues,” said Sheriff Gonzales.
The Commission will conduct the study through hearings, presentations, field visits as well as public meetings. During these events the Commission will hear from experts, public officials, private citizens who can offer insight into these issues.
Sheriff Gonzales is optimistic that his committee will positively impact not only Bernalillo County but New Mexico as a whole.
“Anything to reduce crime, anything to help people that are in a mental health crisis and are having those behavioral issues we want to aid. So, however we can provide resources or do referrals then we will look at those best practices,” said Sheriff Gonzales.