BCSO Sheriff Gonzales says Albuquerque needs help fighting crime, welcomes federal agents | KOB 4

BCSO Sheriff Gonzales says Albuquerque needs help fighting crime, welcomes federal agents

Patrick Hayes
Created: July 23, 2020 10:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales returned to Albuquerque on Thursday after meeting with President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Gonzales told KOB 4 he was invited to the White House last week but didn’t know what to expect.

"They don’t give you a whole lot of details, probably for security measure,” he said.

During his visit, Trump announced that he would be sending federal agents to democratically-ran cities to address their increase in violence.

Albuquerque was among the cities mentioned by the president.

"They should call, they should want it. They're too proud or they're too political to do that. One of them is Albuquerque, New Mexico,” Trump said at the White House event.

Mayor Tim Keller said he has requested help from the federal government before, and is skeptical of the president's operation n Albuquerque. 

Despite concerns from members of Congress and his own political party, Gonzales agreed with the move by the president.

"When there's other messaging going on around the world that Albuquerque is one of the most dangerous cities in the world and third world countries are saying that, I would say you should be concerned,” Gonzales said.

The program, Operation Legend, is basically an extension of a previous federal program that saw agents deployed to different cities to crackdown on violence.

According to officials, more than 25 agents will be coming to Albuquerque including officers with FBI, ATF and the U.S. Marshals service.

Even though Gonzales did not participate in Wednesday's announcement, lawmakers saw it as a political move and criticized the sheriff. 

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich called on the sheriff to resign.

However, Gonzales said he never heard from those critics.

“And I know Sen. Heinrich has my phone number so I was shocked and I was actually extremely disappointed."

Gonzales said he’ll welcome the federal assistance despite the political backlash.

Federal agents are expected to arrive in the coming weeks and will focus on gun violence. Additionally, the FBI said these officials will not be targeting protestors or undocumented immigrants.

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