Updated: January 24, 2020 06:08 PM
Created: January 24, 2020 05:43 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales wants more money to hire more deputies.
But instead of patrolling the streets, the extra law enforcement officers will be stationed in elementary schools in the county’s unincorporated areas.
“We have them in the high schools, and in the middle schools but I believe they need to be in the elementaries,” said Gonzales.
According to BCSO, the department has nine school support deputies but they want to hire 20 more.
Gonzales says the additional manpower would cost about $2 million.
“I don’t think you can put a price on a child’s safety and I believe everybody that’s our future and we need to invest there,” he said.
“And I think the other thing people need to understand is we’re looking at prevention versus detention. We don’t want these kids to be handed off after high school and go into the criminal justice system,” Gonzales added.
Dep. Shaun Sanchez works at Ernie Pyle Middle School. He said getting to know kids and their families helps prevent crime.
"If you start looking around at some of the kids, I'm not saying their best friend but I do talk to them one-on-one and they need that,” Sanchez said.
Gonzales agreed and said he hopes the additional law enforcement will help prevent future tragedies like school shootings.
"Any time you have a police presence at a school it deters -- you'll see somebody goes to another soft target so to speak and maybe find another way but they'll definitely avoid law enforcement."
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