Bernalillo police gaining against crime
The Bernalillo Police Department continues to make headlines, but Chief Fred Radosevich notices something different: the news is good.
Most recently, Sgt. Chris Stoyle and Officer Josh Anderson rescued a woman from a burning home while officers Edward Armijo and Diane Dosal received letters of commendation for investigating a series of armed robberies and arresting a suspect. Meanwhile a gang-plagued area is reporting more peace and quiet since BPD helped to launch a Neighborhood Watch program.
That was not the case through 2003 and much of 2004 as the chief's job turned over three times, multiple criminal investigations targeted officers, and several shootings, one fatal and others retaliatory, led headline writers to declare a gang war was underway.
“We've still got some gang issues,” Radosevich told the Signpost. “Ours were magnified last year by the homicide and, of course, the news media.”
A concerted effort to eliminate gang graffiti made significant progress until tagging reappeared recently after an Albuquerque officer shot and killed a Bernalillo man reputed to have gang affiliations, he added. That effort will ramp up again, Radosevich said, and additional Neighborhood Watch programs are in the offing.
The chief also just won pay raises for his officers in hopes of stemming turnover.
“Of the thirteen current officers including myself, only four have been here more than a year and half,” Radosevich said.
Town councilors hired the twenty-five-year law enforcement veteran and former Grants police chief in April to replace Ramon “Mojo” Montijo, whose tumultuous tenure included two suspensions by Mayor Charles Aguilar and his later firing by the council. In January 2003, councilors fired Chief William Relyea, hired a replacement who never showed up, and then hired Montijo.
One of Montijo's first acts was to inventory department property and the BPD evidence vault, prompting outside investigations concerning missing equipment and weapons.
No charges were filed, although an investigation into a burglary at Bernalillo High School in which a BPD officer was listed as a possible suspect remains open. That case was referred to District Attorney Kari Brandenburg in Albuquerque to avoid a possible conflict of interest with local prosecutors.
New evidence procedures were in place before Radosevich arrived, but since then he has obtained court orders to destroy old evidence. Several more destruction orders are needed before a new bar-code tracking system can be put in place, he said.
“We were finding empty bottles dating to the 1970s—liquor bottles from drinking in public, things like that,” Radosevich said. “It takes years to get into that kind of mess, and it takes years to clean it up.”
After eight months on the job, Radosevich says he is just now getting to the list of things he hoped to accomplish in his first six months. When he made the list, he hadn't anticipated how often he would be responding to citizen calls to assist his shorthanded patrol officers.
And busy his officers were, handling:
- 1,900 police calls and issuing 1,100 traffic citations from July through December, plus dispatching the fire department, town ambulance, and the Santa Ana police department;
- 297 arrests and 430 incident reports from September through December; and nearly 200 traffic accidents on U.S. 550 during the year.
“What it tells me is this is a pretty active little town,” Radosevich said. “I'm now getting out there meeting more people and getting a better feel for the town.”
Looking ahead, developers of the former Price's Dairy property west of the Rio Grande are setting aside an acre for a future BPD substation. And the chief says he'll be hiring additional officers and announcing a town hall meeting to gather public opinion on law-enforcement needs.
Possession of a controlled substance, paraphernalia, stolen property
—John Paul Trujillo
On November 7, 2004, Deputy Dave Portis, with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s office, conducted a traffic stop on Bosque Loop in the town of Bernalillo, New Mexico.
The driver was identified as Talana Block of Albuquerque and the passenger as Richard Martinez of Bernalillo. During this traffic stop, Deputy Portis located five to six grams of a white powder under the passenger seat of the vehicle which was field tested to be methamphetamine.
Deputy Portis notified Detective Michael Shelby, who also responded. The passenger was found to have an outstanding felony warrant for this arrest out of California for possession of methamphetamine. Both Block and Martinez were placed under arrest for possession of methamphetamine.
During a vehicle inventory and interview with the suspects, approximately sixteen forms of identification were located in the driver’s possession and in the vehicle. All were in the names of residents in the Albuquerque area. Detective Shelby began the process of tracking down the owners of the identification cards, insurance cards, and other forms of identification.
Detective Shelby was able to locate seven people who advised they had been victims of auto burglaries in the Albuquerque area. Detective Shelby obtained a search warrant for the vehicle the suspects had been driving at the time of the traffic stop. Upon executing the warrant, several more identification cards and other forms of identification were recovered, along with a floppy disk labeled “DMV template.”
Talana was charged with seven counts of receiving stolen property. The case was turned over to detectives with the Albuquerque Police Department for further investigation.
Failing to register lands sex offenders in jail
—John Paul Trujillo
The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for the arrest of Richard Griego on January 6, 2005, for failing to comply with the Sex Offender Registration Guidelines.
Sex offenders are required to register with the county sheriff prior to December 31 of each calendar year. Failure to comply is a fourth-degree felony. Griego is a registered sex offender in Sandoval County and did not register for 2004. He was arrested by the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office on January 16, 2005, for the warrant.
Registered sex offender Burton Moore was arrested on January 15, 2005, for failing to comply with the Sex Offender Registration Act. Moore did not send written notice of his change in residence to the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office within ten days after establishing his new residence.
The Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office is actively executing arrest warrants for sex offenders who fail to comply with the Sex Offender Registration Guidelines. The objective is to protect people from child molesters and sex offenders through registration requirements.
Bloodmobile comes to Placitas
Would you like to be a hero? Can you spare an hour to help save a life? That's all it takes for you to be a volunteer blood donor.
Nearly 280 units of blood are needed each day to meet the blood needs of patients in our area. Patients suffering from trauma, cancer, leukemia, kidney and heart disease, premature birth, hemophilia, and sickle-cell anemia all may require lifesaving blood.
Donating blood is relatively painless and easy—and very rewarding. Donors must be seventeen years of age or older and weight at least 110 pounds. They must show identification containing their given name and photo.
The bloodmobile will be in the parking lot of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. You can call for an appointment or just drop by on Sunday morning.
For appointments, call Sharon Masterson, 867-6349, or Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, 867-5718.
Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department Statistics
for the Year 2004
Submitted by John Paul Trujillo, Sheriff, Sandoval County