Stacked like toy blocks, modular jail cells take shape as a 388-bed addition to the Sandoval County Detention Center. The precast blocks, each holding two cells, reduce construction time and expense and are more secure than block-and-mortar cells, according to Captain Al Casmento. This third expansion of the 1988 jail is scheduled for occupancy in December. The recently approved county budget includes thirty-five new employees to staff the detention center.
County spending soars due to public-safety needs, deputy raises
To explain a nearly 20-percent jump in county spending, consider a new jail and emergency-medical system plus hefty raises for sheriff’s deputies.
“Public safety is the biggest reason,” county manager Debbie Hays told the Sandoval County Commission. While the overall budget increases 19.2 percent, spending on public safety is going up nearly 41 percent, she said.
Hays said overall the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 increases by $7.5 million, with more than half of that coming from state appropriations. About $400,000 is from growth in property taxes, and much of the rest is the new emergency medical services tax approved by county voters, Hays added.
Commissioners gave unanimous approval to the budget boosting spending to $46.3 million compared to $38.8 million this year.
Initially the EMS system envisions three staffed stations with twenty-four employees cross-trained as firefighters and emergency medics. The new budget adds five positions to the sheriff’s department and thirty-five new staff for the detention-center expansion scheduled for completion in December.
Extra bookkeeping related to the EMS tax also will add one position. Deputy sheriffs are scheduled for 11-percent pay raises with most other county employees seeing 7-percent increases, she said.
Among other budget highlights:
- Debt service rises 60 percent to $4.3 million largely to pay off bonds issued to fund the new justice complex, health commons, jail expansion, and library.
- Public works increases 15 percent in part to pay for the composting program about to begin at the county landfill.
- Assessments and collections showed a year-to-year budget reduction of $316,670, but only because a $500,000 grant-funded project was completed.
- Cash reserves topped $6 million, a 9-percent increase, boosted in part to cover contingencies in the various building projects now underway.
- Community programs will increase 4 percent; elections, recording and probate by 3 percent.
Teenager found guilty of Placitas murder, may face 51 years behind bars
—John Paul Trujillo
Sheriff, Sandoval County
On May 10 a Sandoval County jury returned a verdict in the trial of Edgar Rios, sixteen years of age, of Albuquerque. Rios was charged in the September 2003 murder of Placitas resident Jerry D. Lopez.
The jury reached a guilty verdict of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Additional guilty verdicts were reached for armed robbery with firearm enhancement, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon with firearm enhancement, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and tampering with evidence. Rios now faces a maximum sentence of fifty-one years in prison.
This case was investigated by the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office; it was prosecuted by the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and tried before district court judge Kenneth Brown.
Sex offenders must register with county or face arrest
—John Paul Trujillo
Sheriff, Sandoval County
On January 22, 2003, the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office investigated a number of subjects for failure to register as sex offenders with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation yielded an arrest warrant for David Larryn.
Sandoval County sheriff’s detectives did surveillance on Larryn’s residence. On the second day, Larryn was arrested and taken into custody without incident, and a criminal complaint was filed against him. Larryn claimed he did not need to register as a sex offender in Sandoval County and decided to obtain an attorney and go to trial to prove his claim. A trial date was set for Monday, May 10, 2004.
On Friday, May 7, Sandoval County sheriff’s detectives were prepared to prove their case against Larryn. However, Larryn decided it would be best not to go to trial. He pled guilty to one count of failing to register as a sex offender in Sandoval County. The state Adult Probation and Parole Office will complete a presentence report on Larryn, and a sentencing date will be set for him by Sandoval County District Court.
The law is very clear on sex offender registration, and Sheriff Trujillo has a no-tolerance policy on compliance with sex offenders who wish to live in Sandoval County. If you are a sex offender living in Sandoval County, you will register with the sheriff’s office. If you do not, an arrest warrant will be obtained and you will be arrested.
State bar offers free family-law workshop
A family-law workshop providing information on divorce, child custody, child support, and visitation will be held June 9 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the State Bar of New Mexico, 5121 Masthead NE, in Albuquerque.
There will be a presentation by volunteer attorney Maria Montoya Chavez regarding family-law issues. She will provide information, explain options and available services, and answer questions.
This free event is open to the public as a community service. Call 800-876-6227 or 797-6048 for details.