New BernCo sheriff talks change, establishing a new culture of collaboration

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – Newly-elected sheriff of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, John Allen, wants to see some change.

So KOB 4 asked, what’s changing?

There’s a rumor going around that the literal wall that separates the briefing room, from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s side of the building, from the Albuquerque Police Department’s half of the building, was ordered to be taken down by the new sheriff.

Ryan Laughlin: “Is that true and is that a physical example of the collaboration you’re trying to bring to this department?”

John Allen: “It is. I mean there’s a partition and that’s where we do media and things of that nature. We do split those.”

It turned out the remodel was in the works long before Allen was elected, but he is working to remove barriers.

“I would think more of a physical wall and a mental barrier to where people were afraid to walk across the other side in the same building where we work on, to come to a solution to a common problem. No longer is that the case,” said Allen. 

In recent years, BCSO’s relationship with APD wasn’t in the best shape.

“I don’t believe that we need the media to mediate between us and the city. I’ve met with the mayor personally, that’s unnecessary,” said former BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales. 

Now, the new sheriff wants to establish a culture of collaboration. 

Allen says he meets routinely with APD Chief Harold Medina and wants his deputies to do the same.

“They don’t need permission from me to say, ‘hey, sheriff, can I go talk to an Albuquerque Police Department representative?’ No, you need to do that, that’s part of your job, that’s what you do, you don’t need permission from me,” said Allen. “You shouldn’t be worried about any type of retaliation, or push back if you’re speaking with another department.”

Already, Allen has appeared publicly with the mayor and police chief in his first month on the job, pledging teamwork as part of his philosophy going forward.

“I don’t think people really care what color uniform you wear. They want to make sure you have a professional, an efficient response, and it comes down to bottom time solution for their safety. That’s it, simple 101,” said Allen. 

Allen says he’s not only focusing on collaborating with APD, he wants to make it easier for the new District Attorney, Sam Bregman, to prosecute their cases.