New sheriff outlines plan for Bernalillo County

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen is five days into the job, and already making tough calls, like taking BCSO off the popular show “On Patrol Live.”

“I know people think that’s access to the department and some people think that’s true transparency to the department, I’ll agree and disagree with short on the people power that we have, and I don’t want to be scheduling certain people for certain shifts,” Allen said. “I want to just focus on our goals and missions of the department for now.”

A roundtable with media outlets Friday was an example of how transparent he wants to be, and he voiced other top priorities.

“Recruiting and retention, that’s number one,” Allen said. “Two is the fentanyl crisis that we have. That’s something I need to talk to not only the district attorney’s office, but the U.S. attorney’s office also. And then the homicides with violent crimes and let’s say, within that, also the gun violence we’re seeing.”

He said more officers are needed all over the metro.

“So, I don’t want to take 25 Albuquerque Police Department people to put them here that doesn’t help the city,” he said.

The sheriff also said he wants to reevaluate recruiting and training policies in the future, without cutting corners.

“I would rather have six qualified people than ten other people make another total of 16 that I have to worry about down the road as far as civil rights and things of that are concerned,” Allen said, when asked about the possibility of changing recruitment policies.

As a whole, he’s focused on more diversity, as the first African American sheriff. BCSO now has the first immigrant undersheriff too, Johann Jareno.

“The big question was like, why do our deputies not look like us or the community? Why do you guys not show tattoos? Why do you guys not have beards? All those questions, and it really made me think, and I never run on race. I never do, but I realized how important it is for my community,” Allen said.