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Undersheriff will head county jail

Undersheriff Greg Rees is the new head of MDC.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A high-ranking deputy with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office will be the next chief of the Metropolitan Detention Center, county officials announced Thursday.

Undersheriff Greg Rees will take the helm at MDC on Aug. 7. The jail has been led by Tom Ruiz, an interim chief, since July 2016. The jail hasn’t had a permanent chief since October 2016, when Phillip Greer resigned after 10 months on the job.

“Greg Rees knows the community, the criminal justice system, and he knows Bernalillo County. He will be able to hit the ground running because of his knowledge and familiarity with how the jail, courts and law enforcement agencies work together,” County Manager Julie Morgas Baca said in a news release. “Lastly, I appointed Greg because he is a proven leader who can bring accountability and stability to the MDC.”

Rees, who has 23 years of experience in law enforcement, agreed to lead the jail for at least three years, according to the release. He’ll make $150,000 per year.

The massive jail west of Albuquerque has beds for more than 2,200 inmates, but the jail population is currently at about 1,200 inmates. In recent years, the county has aimed to lower the jail population as part of reforms brought on in part by a 20-year lawsuit that focuses on jail conditions like overcrowding.

“During the past few years, MDC has made incredible progress in certain areas of its operation, and I believe, working collaboratively with the staff, we can keep the momentum moving in the right direction, addressing other challenges before us,” Rees said in a statement.

Ruiz will remain at MDC to work on administrative functions at the facility, which has about 500 employees.