New efforts underway to clean up the mesas | KOB 4
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New efforts underway to clean up the mesas

Brittany Costello
September 19, 2019 11:36 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Illegal dumping is a big problem. Instead of desert, our beautiful mesas continue to serve as a dumping ground.

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People who live on the southwest outskirts say it's not just trash; they routinely hear gunshots, and find stray bullets.

The good news is there are some new efforts to change all that.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office is ramping up patrols, using new technology, off road vehicles, and even a helicopter.

“If there’s something visually that we’re perceiving from a distance that they can’t see, we’re going to describe that to them or relay that video to them,” said Larry Koren, BCSO undersheriff. 

Since January, Koren said the department has done around 27 operations out in the Pajarito Mesa.

Five days a week, deputies are out there for at least an hour, using off road vehicles, mostly during the day.

They’re also getting ready to launch new drone technology to help.

“They're going out with zoning and identifying dump areas,” said Koren. “They’ve seized a lot of stolen vehicles and trailer. I think they even recovered a boat, and confront anyone who might also be suspected of shooting.

The problems aren’t new. County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada knows that.

“For me, I live up there,” said Commissioner Quezada. “I can tell you for a fact, there’s a lot of illegal shooting, people take their guns up there thinking it's a gun range,” said Commissioner Quezada.

Over the years, the problem has only gotten worse. By helicopter, it seems simple. But the terrain makes policing that area difficult.

That’s why Koren and Quezada said people from all sides of the issue are finally coming together, forming what’s called the Illegal Dumping Partnership. 

The city has three convenience stations open to the public. There is also a private one out on the mesa. 

But it doesn’t seem to matter. Items are dumped along the dirt roads near it.

“If we can unite all of us together and really work at what we bring to the table financially what we have set aside, write  grants, I think we can tackle this at a higher level,” said Quezada.

The partnership, which includes BCSO and Quezada, among many other stakeholders, had its second meeting this week. They're looking to meet monthly, and create subcommittees.

So that way, they’re fighting crime in the air and the moment they step foot back on the ground.

Credits

Brittany Costello

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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