Amid high crime rates, Bernalillo County voters set to pick new sheriff

By: - October 10, 2022 4:55 am

One of Bernalillo County’s two ballot drop boxes sits inside the Voting Machine Warehouse, Oct. 22, 2021. (Photo by Nash Jones / KUNM)

Early voting for the general election begins October 11 and Bernalillo County is set to choose the new head of the state’s largest sheriff’s office.

Vying for the position are Democrat John D. Allen and Republican Paul Pacheco — both of whom ran in a crowded primary back in June. A total of seven Democrats and four Republicans were on that ballot.

Allen and Pacheco stood out as party favorites. Allen garnered 42% of Democratic ballots and Pacheco swept the Republican nomination with 48% of the vote.

Amid a surge in crime in New Mexico and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham putting pressure on agencies to combat criminals and boost public safety, the two candidates differ on potential solutions.

John Allen is a former BCSO homicide sergeant who says he has the experience and know-how to address systemic issues ranging from low morale within deputy ranks to fear of public backlash over actions by the department.

“And let me tell you something,” Allen said in a Facebook video. “We’re short on first responders. Whether it’s dispatchers, deputies, officers for APD [Albuquerque Police Department] and firefighters. And if we don’t work together, this crime is going to go up and it’s not going to stop.”

Paul Pacheco is a former state representative and 27-year veteran of the Albuquerque Police Department. In a campaign commercial, he said he will focus on getting more officers on the streets, especially in high-crime areas.

“We need to focus and concentrate on putting more deputies on the street,” said Pacheco. “Catch and release and sanctuary cities? Those are just wrong.”

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office employs just over 300 deputies, with jurisdiction in and out of city limits. Current Sheriff Manny Gonzales was term-limited out and tried unsuccessfully to run for mayor last year.

Source New Mexico and KUNM News are collaborating to bring you coverage of the 2022 election. This article was originally published by KUNM and is republished here with permission.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.