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  Public Safety

(l. to r.) Sheriff Doug Wood, Detective Olga Guymon, and Undersheriff Karl Weise
Photo credit: —Sidney Hill

Sheriff’s officers honored

—Sandoval County

Detective Olga Guymon has been named Sandoval County Deputy of the Year. Guymon, who joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2010, earned this honor through a vote of her peers, based on her outstanding performance throughout the year 2013.

Sheriff Doug Wood announced Guymon’s selection as Deputy of the Year at the January 10, 2014, meeting of the Sandoval County Commission.

As a detective, Guymon’s primary responsibility is investigating crimes. However, she has taken on numerous other duties within the department. For instance, she is responsible for the critical task of tracking and registering sex offenders who live and work in Sandoval County.

“Detective Guymon has assisted in streamlining the [sex offender registration and tracking] process and has been instrumental in implementing agreements for the Sherriff’s Office to provide those services to three Native American Pueblos within the county,” Undersheriff Karl Wiese said.

Wiese also noted that Guymon is known throughout the Sheriff’s Office as someone who maintains a high level of commitment day in and day out, exhibits discipline, and stays focused on goals with a determination to complete her assignments. She thoroughly and tenaciously investigates each case and leaves no stone unturned, works diligently when no one else is looking, and sets an example as a dedicated team player for other deputies and detectives to follow.

Those characteristics have helped Guymon advance quickly within the department. She was initially hired as a patrol deputy in 2010. In 2012, she was temporarily assigned to the Investigations Division, where she soon took on the role of Sex Offender Program Coordinator.

In October 2013, Guymon was named full-time criminal investigator/detective. And now, three months later, she is designated Deputy of the Year.

Sheriff Wood and Captain Mike Traxler were awarded a Patriot Award the following week. The New Mexico Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve recognized the officers for supporting Deputy Dominic Anderson, a member of the U. S. Army Reserve, by assuring him that his job would be waiting when he returned from military deployment.

Crash gate in Placitas Photo credit: —Vicki Gottlieb

Emergency evacuation challenges

Vicki Gottlieb

Firewise Placitas has been researching the emergency crash gates installed in Placitas around 1996. They have discovered that there are now split rail fences with pull-up posts and steel gates with padlocks in place of the original crash gates. The crash gates were intended to provide escape routes through adjacent neighborhoods onto the community’s main access, Highway 165. Given a population increase of over 32 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to US Census files, the 1996 escape approach is long overdue for reevaluation, regardless of the crash gates’ current condition.

The August 2012 Sandoval County DRAFT Community Wildfire Protection Plan recommends that Placitas “develop an emergency evacuation plan that provides alternative escape routes in the event that evacuation is prevented along Highway 165.” If the road were blocked due to an accident or other emergency, it would be unusable. Emergency equipment, vehicles, and personnel could also need to use Highway 165 at the same time residents are evacuating, as it is the only main route into the area. In addition, they may need to use both lanes, depending on the type and severity of the emergency. Therefore, alternative evacuation routes are essential for residents to be prepared to safely exit Placitas.

In response to questions about a community fire exercise, conducted in the East Mountain area last month by Bernalillo County, Sandoval County Emergency Manager, Assistant Chief David Bervin said, “Personal preparedness is the first and best defense against hazards. Drills and exercises are also useful, but any mass evacuation from that area would currently flow onto Highway 165. It would be prudent for the community to look at alternatives that would give options for egress that did not use 165, in the case that it is blocked for some reason.” In that exercise, the evacuation of a small subdivision restricted to a single road of egress for 45 or so homes in a subdivision, which then uses several arterial roads to evacuate the area, was the most similar to the situation of Placitas subdivision residents evacuating onto Highway 165 or the frontage road. Many Placitas subdivisions have only one route of ingress and egress. Similar situations exist in the rest of Placitas.

Suggestions from concerned citizens and responders can lead to improved emergency evacuation options for Placitas residents. Firewise Placitas welcomes comments at or by contacting Vicki Gottlieb at 404-8022 to help resolve this pressing problem.

Last month was so dry that grass fires in southern NM moved the threat of wildfire into our winter consciousness. You can make a difference by helping make Placitas fire wise. Check us out at our gatherings between 10:00 a.m. and noon, on February 6 and 20, in the Collin Meeting Room of the Placitas Community Library.

Earn up to $500 for tips on copper theft

—PNM PowerSource

We want to stop the theft of copper wiring from utility poles, streetlights, businesses, churches, and PNM electric facilities.

In 2013, there were more than three hundred metal thefts in Albuquerque. Many of the victims included PNM business customers. Although the thieves may get less than one hundred dollars per theft for selling stolen copper wire, a copper theft costs a customer thousands of dollars in repairs and lost revenue.

More importantly, there is the very real danger to your safety posed by copper theft. Thieves often leave energized equipment open and exposed. If someone were to come into contact with that equipment before the crime was discovered, the results could be tragic. 

If you see any activity that looks odd (suspicious activity near electric equipment, power poles, or behind businesses), call the police immediately. If you know about a copper theft, call Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP. At their website——you can also use the online tip form and, if you are in Albuquerque, text a message.

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