New video shows disturbance inside Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center

New video shows disturbance inside Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center

We're learning new details about the major disturbance at Bernalillo County's Juvenile Detention Center on Christmas Day.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We’re learning new details about the major disturbance at Bernalillo County’s Juvenile Detention Center on Christmas Day. 

More than a dozen teens could face new charges stemming from the hours-long incident.

BCSO Sheriff John Allen is using it to work on decades-old issues surrounding protocol at the center. 

“I’m warning people that if we keep going soft with juveniles, and they’re the most dangerous in our county right now, we’re going to pay the price,” said Allen. “We need to stop going soft in the paint on serious violent offenders that are juveniles.”

Footage from inside the center shows them pushing furniture in front of the entrance and yelling at responding law enforcement:

“It’s really us against them now, it’s us against them.”

Allen shared the new details Wednesday, with a promise to work with other leaders on improvements. He says 13 juveniles were involved — all between 14 and 18 years old.

“Not only did they cover cameras, but they had possible scissors, broomsticks, and other weapons that could hurt not only our personnel, but personnel that worked at JDC,” Allen said. 

It took hours of work from BCSO’s Emergency Response Team, including SWAT team members. 

Allen says the teens were actively negotiating.

“When you’re asking for 15 to 20 chicken wings, acting like this is a movie, laughing about it not being serious with our negotiators, saying they have hostages — that’s what we take very seriously,” said Allen. 

His office takes it as proof the county needs to implement some serious changes. He says he’s looking at protocols now like how staff can restrain juveniles, and guidelines on using force. 

Allen says he’ll be helping to put together a list of requests for the state Legislature. 

“I’m warning you, we better stop this. This is why it’s out of control here in Bernalillo County. We are now empowering kids that are still there right now as we speak, letting them know what they can do and that we’re not handling it correctly,” Allen said. 

Allen says this center is home to some of the most dangerous in Bernalillo County right now, and everyone needs to start treating it that way. 

“Why are we tiptoeing around on that they’re juveniles, and we have to treat them so lightly? It’s nonsense,” said Allen. 

Three juveniles got hurt in the disturbance, but Allen says they have recovered.

When KOB 4 asked Bernalillo County about current population at JDC, staffing, and priorities after this incident, Senior Communications Specialist Melissa Smith said:

“Our current juvenile population is 61. The total number of youth program officer staff is 45. A full staff count would be 98. This would include all full and part-time positions filled for Youth Program Officer I and Youth Program Officer II. We are diligently addressing how to increase our staffing numbers.”