Bernalillo County residents gathered at the Sheriff's Office last week to call for the resignation of Sheriff Manuel Gonzales. They say the sheriff's repeated refusals to utilize body camera and dashcam technologies place the public at risk.
According to KRQE, County Commissioners are once again pressing Gonzales to begin outfitting deputies with body cameras. Commissioner Debbie O’Malley is reportedly proposing that the county set aside $500,000 to purchase the cameras.
But the county already earmarked $500,000 to place dashcams in patrol cars last year—funds that the sheriff has yet to use, even though they exist in addition to the office's normal budget. In late July, Gonzales suggested using the money to upgrade the county’s eight existing dash cameras instead of buying more devices to spread between patrol cars. Lawmakers say that this goes against the spirit of the legislation that made the money available.
It's unclear if the proposed funding will be able to convince the sheriff to buy body cameras. At a press conference held last week to address the deputy-involved shooting of a 28-year-old woman in July, Gonzales told reporters that “A camera is not going to save anyone’s life” when confronted on the subject.
The website lists the financial details of settlements for claims against the state for alleged civil rights violations, malpractice, whistleblower retaliation and other misconduct. The Associated Press reports that concerns over millions of dollars worth of undisclosed payouts made during the Martinez administration to resolve claims of discrimination and retaliation against state personnel have pressed the current administration to become more transparent.
The state will enforce a statutory 180-day waiting period after the close of litigation for the disclosure of settlements. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the new “risk settlements/awards” section of the portal will allow the public to better judge the merits of settlements paid with taxpayer money.
Two ABQ Parks To Get Upgrades
Mayor Tim Keller says the city will be cleaning up two parks this year with plans for more in the future.
According to KOB, Keller told reporters that improvements are in the making for Wilson Park, near Gibson Boulevard and San Pedro Drive, and Barelas Park, near Avenida Cesar Chavez and Second Street. The mayor said Wilson Park will be receiving a new splash pad and playground as well as new fencing and lighting. Barelas Park will get new playgrounds and tennis courts.
The renovations for the two parks are being paid for by federal grants. Wilson Park is receiving $976,000, and Barelas Park is receiving $80,000. Once these upgrades have been completed—which authorities say will be by the summer of 2020—the city plans to upgrade Los Altos Park and Coronado Park.