Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Public Safety

County and tribal officials and staff pose with firefighters in front of the recently purchased squad truck during dedication ceremonies for the new Jemez Pueblo fire station.

Jemez Pueblo 1st Lt. Gov. Aaron Cajero Sr. (left) and EMS Capt. Juan Toya watch as Firefighter Merlin Gachupín joins in the wet-down ceremony dedicating the new pueblo fire station.

Sandoval County Fire Chief James Maxon and District 6 Chief Virgil Gachupín stand in front of the new Station 64 and its firefighting apparatus during dedication ceremonies at Jemez Pueblo on July 17.

Jemez Pueblo station bolsters county fire response

—Bill Diven

With spray from three fire hoses wetting the building, Sandoval County firefighters officially dedicated the new fire station at Jemez Pueblo.

Station 64 not only fills a gap in emergency response for the area, it now serves as the center of operations for the Jemez Valley corridor and what are now four stations in the fire district.

Station 64, a joint venture of the county and the pueblo, was years in the making.

“It started with Jon Tibbetts with his vision,” Jemez First Lieutenant Governor Aaron Cajero Sr. told the Signpost during the dedication ceremony. “He came to us to talk about his vision.”

Sandoval County hired Tibbetts as its fire chief in 2004 to develop a professional fire service while upgrading the volunteer departments. Tibbetts died in a two-car crash on Interstate 25 while heading to work in July 2012 and was succeeded by Deputy Chief James Maxon.

“It’s kind of emotional to see fire trucks up here now,” said David Ryan, the pueblo’s director of emergency services who worked with Tibbetts on the project from the beginning.

The 2,400-square-foot building fronts on State Route 4 and is the new hub of Fire District 6. District Fire Chief Virgil Gachupín also oversees operations of the volunteer departments in Ponderosa, Cañon, and San Ysidro.

Funding for the one-hundred-thousand-dollar building came from state capital outlay sought by Senator Benny Shendo Jr. and Rep. James Roger Madalena, both residents of the pueblo, plus forty thousand dollars from the county. The county also spent $240,000 dollars from a state excise tax for fire services on a new engine and squad truck, which have been in service about six months, and is leasing the site from the pueblo.

“The reason this has been successful is because everyone pulled together,” Maxon said. The history of the fire service is neighbors helping neighbors, he added.

The dedication on July 17 ended with a wet-down ceremony, a tradition in the fire service of neighboring departments christening the new building and apparatus with water from their trucks. Firefighters from La Cueva, Zia Pueblo, and Regina-La Jara performed the service.

Next door to Station 64 is Jemez Pueblo Emergency Medical Services with its rescue rig and staff of paramedics trained in advanced life support. EMS responds to calls throughout the region and transports patients to hospitals under a contract with the county.

Dunk-A-Cop carnival game—always fun

Cool police dune buggy

Ed Eunice and police dog “Rudy”

Ed teaches children how to greet a police dog
Photos credit: —Siobhan Hammack

Cops in the Park 

—Siobhan Hammack

“Cops in the Park” was held at Rotary Park in the Town of Bernalillo on July 10. The event, that hosted the opportunity for community members to meet with the officers of various entities that protect our community, received a great turnout by 10:30 a.m. when droves of children began to fill the park.

Deputies and volunteers were busy as bees setting up the entertainment for the day’s festivities, which included interactive games with prizes, tutorials, demonstrations, and free food. Children were able to investigate various law enforcement displays and vehicles with the guidance of trained officers. Representatives from the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office distributed educational coloring/activity books on bike safety and bullying to aid in community relations and crime prevention, sponsored by Sherrif Doug Wood. K-9 unit Ed Eunice and “Rudy” showed up to meet and greet the people. Rudy, a wonderfully patient working police dog let the children pet him. Ed then let the kids tour the FBI tank. It was a fun informative afternoon for all.

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